Heart Earth

Heart Earth

Book - 1993
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Baker & Taylor
A family memoir that began with "This House of Sky" continues with an evocation of America before, during, and after World War II, as the Doigs journey from an Arizona defense housing project to the mountains of Montana

Blackwell North Amer
With its powerful echoes of a family and its fate, Heart Earth is the fitting companion to Ivan Doig's classic memoir, This House of Sky. Against the backdrop of World War Two and the American land before and since, this remarkably told saga of the Doigs and their journey from a defense housing project in boomtime Arizona to the high country of their Montana origins builds with the drama only real life can hold. Here we see an adventurous mother miraculously back again in the evocative lines of her wartime letters after "all else of her. . . has been only farthest childscapes, half-rememberings thinned by so many years since"; a resonant father who gives off the "tense hum of a wire in the wind" as he strives, in memorably go-getting fashion, to make his family secure against chronic odds; and a child, "touchy and thorough, doctrinaire and dreamy," who early learns to infiltrate the drama-filled world of grown-ups by "standing back and prowling with the ears."
"In that last winter of the war, she knew to use pointblank ink," begins this unusual blend of heartfelt memoir and narrative skills. As ever in the writing of Ivan Doig, the most innocent sentence has the trap of poetry. Heart Earth is the most imaginative - and moving - book yet from the writer, The Washington Post has said, "whose work makes readers recall why they love to read, reminds writers why they ever wanted to write in the first place."

& Taylor

A family memoir that began with This House of Sky continues with an evocation of America before, during, and after World War II, as the Doigs journey from an Arizona defense housing project to the mountains of Montana.

Publisher: New York : Atheneum ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, 1993.
ISBN: 9780689121371
Branch Call Number: BIO Doig I.
Characteristics: x, 160 p. ;,23 cm.


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Jun 29, 2019

I haven't yet read "This House of Sky," to which this is a prequel. Doig remembered little of his mother, who died on his 6th birthday. Then his uncle, her brother, bequeathed him the letters she sent him during a brief period during WW II, when he's on a destroyer in the Pacific, and she, Doig's father, and Ivan, aged five, are restlessly moving around the West in search of work and a climate conducive to her severe asthma. The letters open a whole new world to Ivan about his mother, the relationship between his parents, and that between his father and his maternal grandmother, who raise him after her death. The cover tells exactly what's going to happen, but Doig writes it from the child's point of view. Thus I read it with growing apprehension as the end approached. Can't wait to read "The House of Sky," which I have on hold. For some reason, this isn't as good as many of Doig's books; maybe because it might need to be read after "Sky." Much of Doig's poetic language is lost in a story written from the perspective of an adult looking back on his life so many years before. But Doig never wrote a "bad" book, so I still greatly enjoyed reading it.

May 18, 2019

A beautiful book. Recalling his childhood, and re-reading found letters of his mother, Doig wonderfully integrates his own memories with his family's experiences. He did in-depth research to support his memoir, including WWII, its effects on Montanans,
and rapid economic change as WWII was ending. The powerful sense of place he invoked in This House of Sky (l978) is also part of Heart Earth. The Montana climate and challenging terrain deeply shaped his parents' lives and his own. He describes the rugged and difficult lives of his parents and family in this second memoir. I highly recommend his book.


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Mar 07, 2011

Sequel of sorts to This House of Sky, memoir published in 1978. Uncle has left him some letters, from author's mother to her brother. Mother died when author was 6, so they shed some light on some of his "wonderings".


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