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The Folks

Ruth Suckow

Publication Year: 1992

Here is an introspective, poignant portrait of an American family during a time of sweeping changes. Now nearly sixty years after it first appeared, Suckow's finest work still displays a thorough realism in its characters' actions and aspirations; the uneasy compromises they are forced to make still ring true.

Suckow's talent for retrospective analysis comes to life as she examines her own people—Iowans, descendants of early settlers—through the lives of the Ferguson family, living in the fictional small town of Belmond, Iowa. Using her gift of creating three-dimensional, living characters, Suckow focuses on personal differences within the family and each member's separate struggle to make sense of past and present, to confront a pervasive sense of loss as a way of life disappears.

Published by: University of Iowa Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xiv

Ruth Suckow (1892- 1960) is one of a small group of Iowa authors of short stories and novels whose work attracted the attention of major reviewers, literary historians, and critics. Her reputation is based on eight novels, three short novels, five collections of short stories, some stories published only in magazines, and several critical...

Part 1: The Old Folks

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pp. 1

Part 2: The Good Son

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I. The Young People

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pp. 71-109

THE assembly room of the high school was always restless at this last period in the afternoon. Whispers went about—a gust of laughter hastily suppressed as the teacher in charge began clearing her desk. The little grade children were out already, and their voices sounded high and clear from the other building, a block away, as they went...

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II. Commencement

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pp. 109-147

As soon as the academic procession had passed out of the church into the openness of the hot noon sunlight, the Senior class began to scatter. The little group who had received honorary degrees (mostly Presbyterian ministers) had to be detained on the lawn for a final photograph for the church...

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III. Homecoming

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pp. 147-253

Lillian had left the room softly so as not to disturb Carl, he had been so busy these last few weeks of school, and up so many nights. But he came down to breakfast soon after the others. He looked fresh and brushed this morning. The children were in their faded play suits—summer had begun...

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Part 3: The Loveliest Time of the Year

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pp. 255-301

DOROTHY was just waking up. She was under orders to sleep as long as she could. First of all, she recognized the quality of the sunlight—this summer sunlight, flecked by the leafy green of the trees outside, lying in a square, pulled slightly out of shape, on the polished floor; and then the air, scented with grass cut early in the morning...

Part 4: The Other Girl

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I. The Hidden Time

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pp. 305-331

MARGARET had locked her door again. At least she had a door that would lock. That was her one consolation in this house. It gave her a savage pleasure to shut herself in with her own misery and to keep the folks outside. She lay on the floor—the bed was too soft for her wretchedness—and her head rolled from side to side. ...

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II. Basement Apartment

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pp. 331-392

MARGARET sat in the train, in the green velvet seclusion of her Pullman section. She looked out at the stations between the wide stretches of country. But somewhere in her mind, beneath these actual sights, was the memory of the car drawn up beside the station platform; and she could still see the folks as they stood there together, looking...

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III. And It Had a Green Door

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pp. 392-449

WHAT was it that gave this queer sense of familiarity? Then Margot remembered. She used to live on this street! She used to pass this small Italian bakery every day. Over there on the corner was the pet shop before which she used to stand looking at the smoky ears and jewel eyes of the Siamese cats. Her own little cat. ...

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IV. After the End of the Story

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pp. 449-521

MARGOT woke up with a sense of rest. It was like a dream to be back in her old room. Her own curtains were at the window, carefully laundered; and the rickety little desk stood locked as she had left it. The folks had kept everything for her exactly as it had been before—hoping, she supposed, that she would finally come home....

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5. The Youngest

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pp. 523-577

An agent selling silk stockings rang the bell at the Ferguson house. No one answered, and after ringing again and waiting, he retreated. Only when he had got past the place, he saw "the lady of the house" out in the garden talking to a workman. He thought of seeking her there. But the poor fellow (who had started out as a preacher...

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6. The Folks

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pp. 579-727

ALL this week it had been warm. And yet, most of the leaves were gone, showing that it was almost November. The trees stood branching dark against the blue, and around the heavy trunks the leaves lay thick, yellow and yellow-green, still soft, almost tender, and freshly fallen. But it had been pleasant like this for such a while...

E-ISBN-13: 9781587292330
Print-ISBN-13: 9780877453741

Page Count: 740
Publication Year: 1992

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Subject Headings

  • Iowa -- Fiction.
  • Pastoral fiction. -- gsafd.
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