Jane Hamilton is the author of The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for First Fiction; A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named one of the top ten books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the Miami Herald, and People magazine; Disobedience; and The Short History of a Prince. She lives in Rochester, Wisconsin.
When a Wall Street Journal writer observed that "simple tales of life and sorrow in the heartland are red hot," he wasn't writing about Hamilton's (A Map of the World, Audio Reviews, LJ 7/95) novel, but he might as well have been. Ruth, an Illinois farm girl, gives a first-person account of her life in an effort to make sense of what has happened to her and her tragedy-prone family. The language of this novel, by turns naturalistic, romantic, and occasionally humorous, has a freshness and originality of expression, and Mare Winningham's vital and poignant reading makes Ruth come alive. Recommended for public libraries.‘Jacqueline Seewald, Red Bank Regional H.S. Lib., N.J.
"An American beauty this book.... The narrator of Jane Hamilton's sensational first novel is a holy lusty innocent." -Vogue
"A sly and wistful, if harrowing, human comedy. Hamilton is a new and original voice in fiction and one well worth listening to." -Boston Sunday Globe
"Ms. Hamilton gives Ruth a humble dignity and allows her hope-but it's not a heavenly hope. It's a common one, caked with mud and held with gritted teeth. And it's probably the only kind that's worth reading about." -The New York Times Book Review
"Hamilton's story builds to a shocking crescendo. Her small-town characters are a appealingly offbeat and brushed with grace as any found in Alice Hoffman's or Anne Tyler's novels." -Glamour
"Jane Hamilton's novel is authentically Dickensian.... The real achievement of this first novel is not so much the blackness as the suggestion of resilience. At the end, Ruth begins to put together her shattered body, spirit and life. Her words are awkward, as they have been all along, but suddenly and unexpectedly they shine." -Los Angeles Times
"A disturbing and beautiful book." -Hilma Wolitzer
"An extraordinary story of a family's disintegration.... Will be compared to Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres. Astonishingly vivid and moving." -People
"An enthralling tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying ways of our lives." -Entertainment Weekly
"Unforgettably, beat by beat, Hamilton maps the best and worst of the human heart and all the mysterious, uncharted country in between." -Kirkus Reviews