After the Dam

Product Details
$16.95  $15.76
Red Hen Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 0.7 X 8.5 inches | 0.8 pounds
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About the Author
Amy Hassinger is the author of Nina: Adolescence and The Priest's Madonna. Her writing has been translated into five languages and has won awards from Creative Nonfiction, Publisher's Weekly, and the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, The Writers' Chronicle, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and teaches in the University of Nebraska's MFA in Writing Program.

"When one person's political passion conflicts with the rest of her family's desires, tensions are inevitable.Rachel Clayborne, Michael German, and their infant daughter, Deirdre, have been living in Illinois, close to the college where Michael teaches. Rachel has been halfheartedly working on a Ph.D. in environmental science, but, since giving birth, her energy has flagged and she's begun questioning her commitment to the field. She's also depressed and angry--doubting that she's well-suited for the domesticity she's somehow fallen into. She's stewing, so when her dad phones and informs her that her grandmother, called Grand, is dying, she and Deirdre sneak off in the middle of the night and drive to the Farm, the Wisconsin home that's been in the Clayborne family for generations. Rachel doesn't leave a note about their destination--she and the child just vanish while Michael sleeps. Once in Wisconsin, she and Grand easily reconnect, and despite Grand's frailty and memory lapses, the pair are buoyed by one another. Still, tensions arise. The main issue involves Grand's plan to leave the Farm to Diane Bishop, her Native American nurse and longtime friend, in essence returning the land to the Ojibwe people who once owned it. After all, Diane argues, the Claybornes acquired the property fraudulently and restoring it is simply making things right. Grand agrees, changes her will, and sets off a battle royal within the Clayborne family. Along the way, Rachel connects with her first love, Joe Bishop, Diane's son and the caretaker of an area dam, and grapples with issues including marital fidelity, family ties, indigenous rights, and lifestyle preferences. Taut, beautifully written, and suspenseful, this resonant, feminist drama eschews easy answers. A page-turner of the highest caliber."

--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A consistently compelling and deftly crafted novel with an underlying message about the transformative power of motherhood, "After the Dam" reveals author Amy Hassinger as an impressively skilled storyteller of the first order. This is a novel that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished and set back upon the shelf. "After the Dam" is strongly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections.

Midwest Book Review