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Extended Audio Sample The Quickening: A Novel, by Michelle Hoover Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (967 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michelle Hoover Narrator: Bernadette Dunne, Carrington MacDuffie Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Enidina Current and Mary Morrow live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest during the early 1900s. This hardscrabble life comes easily to some, like Eddie, who has never wanted more than the land she works and the animals she raises on it with her husband, Frank. But for the deeply religious Mary, farming is an awkward living and at odds with her more cosmopolitan inclinations. Still, Mary creates a clean and orderly home life for her stormy husband, Jack, and her sons, while she adapts to the isolation of a rural town through the inspiration of a local preacher. She is the first to befriend Eddie in a relationship that will prove as rugged as the ground they walk on. Despite having little in common, Eddie and Mary need one another for survival and companionship. But as the Great Depression threatens, the delicate balance of their reliance on one another tips, pitting neighbor against neighbor, exposing the dark secrets they hide from one another, and triggering a series of disquieting events that threatens to unravel not only their friendship but their families as well.

In this luminous and unforgettable debut, Michelle Hoover explores the polarization of the human soul in times of hardship and the instinctual drive for self-preservation by whatever means necessary. The Quickening stands as a novel of lyrical precision and historical consequence, reflecting the resilience and sacrifices required even now in our modern troubled times.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I grew up among Iowa farm women, and Michelle Hoover has perfectly captured their voices and stories with great wisdom, tenderness, and beauty.”

    Ted Kooser, US poet laureate, 2004–2006

  • “Hoover’s powerful debut tells the story of the intertwined fortunes of two early twentieth-century Midwestern farm women…In this finely wrought and starkly atmospheric narrative, Hoover’s characters carry deep secrets, and their emotions are as intense as the acts of nature that shape their world.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A haunting, beautifully told story…Hoover writes with such emotional clarity about these two women, their fierce maternal instincts and their determination to survive in spite of impossible hardships, that the reader can almost feel their presence. Hoover is the granddaughter of four-generation-old farming families, so perhaps this empathy is in her genes, resulting in a captivating and heartfelt first novel.”


  • “A vivid, pastoral panorama…imbued throughout with a careful and evenly wrought lyricism.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “From the opening pages of this beautiful novel, I found myself immersed in the lives of these two farm women between the wars and their struggles with their families, themselves, the land, and each other. The Quickening is such a fully realized, sensually vivid, psychologically intelligent novel that it’s hard to believe it is a debut, but it is and a sparkling one.”

    Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street, winner of the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award

  • “Michelle Hoover’s writing is brilliant and gutsy. She sees deeply, with great wisdom and compassion, and she creates characters who are complex and authentic.”

    Ursula Hegi 

  • The Quickening, through its carefully wrought, precise prose, builds with a heartrending power that lingers long after the final page. Michelle Hoover is a writer to watch.”

    Don Lee

  • “Michelle Hoover’s fine debut novel recreates for us a way of life and a set of personalities that have vanished from our current scene, and she does so with a solidity of detail that will impress these people and these places forever on your memory.”

    Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

  • “Though The Quickening is her first novel, Michelle Hoover does what all the best writers steeped in a particular place do—use that place as a conduit to the universal and timeless mysteries of the heart.  What an exceptional debut this book is.”

    Ron Rash, author of Serena

  • The Quickening is a rare jewel of a novel: an elegantly structured page-turner driven as much by its exquisite lyricism as it is by the gripping story at its core. It wondrously weaves a riveting half-century of American Midwestern history through the sensual, intimate, often strange details that make up a life. Michelle Hoover is a stunning writer and this is a fierce and beautiful book.”

    Maud Casey, author of Genealogy

  • Finalist for the 2010 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
  • Finalist for the Indies Choice Award for Debut of 2010
  • Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List
  • A 2010 Foreword Magazine Best Book Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mercedes | 2/13/2014

    " I got this book on a whim, it was actually on sale for my kindle. It was captivating and I couldn't stop reading and read it within only a few days which is a feat for a mom with three kids under 10! Told from the point of view of two different farmers wives in the early 1900's you will find yourself lost in their stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Chris Antenen | 2/5/2014

    " Interesting, and difficult, format executed well. Depth and understanding in a complicated plot. I've been starting a lot of books lately, but not finishing because I wasn't satisfied. This book I read in a day because it held my interest at a restless time. Best I've read since 'The Book Thief.' "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lynn | 1/28/2014

    " Such a depressing book. Both of the main characters were unappealing. I only finished it because I wanted to know what happened and even that didn't "happen" "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elizabeth Friel | 1/24/2014

    " tough read, but hard to put down too. Not the ideal book club book! "

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