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December 03 , 2007

To Make My Bread


This classic novel, written in the midst of the Great Depression, translates the themes of Balzac to a Southern Appalachian setting. Lumpkin traces the path of the McClure family as they move from living as poor bootleggers in the mountains to living in a mill town, earning a pittance as factory workers. The McClures are navigating the treacherous path of industrialization without a safety net, even as the entire country reels with the effects of the Depression.

Lumpkin weaves a story in poetic mountains speech, moving through powerful religious experiences, through lawless love, and reaching a tremendous climax in a mill strike waged with all the desperation of a life and death struggle. Without literary tricks or devices she achieves tremendous emotional effects through sincerity and realism.

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