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Unravelling

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3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  275 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
From a small, bogside cabin in rural New England, 38-year-old Aimee Slater unravels the story of her life, attempting to make sense of the tangled thread that leads from her mother's house-a short, unbridgeable distance away-to the world she now inhabits. It is soon after the Civil War; Aimee lives alone, but is graced with visits from two friends, a crippled man and a tro ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 12th 1999 by Mariner Books (first published August 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30)
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Laurel
Dec 28, 2007 Laurel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in a book about relationships
Shelves: just-finished
This was a quiet, intense read...I cared about Aimee the main character pretty early on and was interested in what her journey would be. This book spoke much to what it is to be a woman going against her times (even though she didn't truly plan to) and the damage that can result from being so alienated from one's family. The poetic prose style was often lovely and uplifting, despite the overall feeling of sadness. All in all, a good read for those winter days when you feel like hibernating with ...more
Jude
Aug 15, 2008 Jude rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: severe folks with hearts of song
Recommended to Jude by: it moved into my hand at Mac's Backs
so far, so wonderful - so i am reacting to the way of telling, not the complete plotting and story. Part of my joy is just to be actually reading again - slowly - a few pages a day - but mostly I love the exploration of inner and outer solitude, and the eternal girl inside the narrator's voice.

I've been taken in by both her pacing and her lyric severity - cause i relate, i suppose. Other readers have been impatient, bored, incredulous and disappointed. glad to be me, i guess:>!
Jennifer
Jun 09, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Lesley
Shelves: lesley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth
May 23, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who hear a different beat from the drummer and actually follow it
Shelves: 2009
this book starts off very sluggishly but turns out being good. Aimee, the main character, begins as a beautiful-smart-young teenage girl who becomes kinda slutty, gets knocked up, left alone and goes a little batty. normally this would not be a very interesting story line but that it takes place shortly after the civil war first in the country and than in the city, when girls couldn't give in to their slutty side and really couldn't get pregnant out of wedlock, without huge consequences. the sto ...more
Linda
Somewhere I read that this story was about a girl working in the cotton mills in Lowell, MA in the 1840’s but this book is much more than that. Aimee grows up on a farm in New Hampshire and wants to go to Lowell to get away from her family. She eventually gets a job at the Boott mill in Lowell (which really did exist) but feels very alone when two of her friends return home. Her friendship with one of the mechanics at the mill results in her pregnancy and the bulk of the novel is about the unrav ...more
Margo
Oct 15, 2007 Margo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any woman.
This book detailed a young woman's choices and how they affected her and her family. It is very moving especially when describing the relationship between the woman and her mother. It shows how certain decisions affect our future. I learned that decisions can have a big impact on your life, but, there is always a way to reconcile those decisions if you so desire.
Lauren
Mar 04, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it
I found this book rich and compelling. I loved Elizabeth's writing and her character, it was a pleasure to read and has stuck with me over the years.
Merle
Feb 18, 2017 Merle rated it really liked it
an intriguing story of a girl who goes off to work in the Lowell Mills in the 1840s.
Captures the mood, dialog and feelings of oppression in a completely realistic way.
Laurel Deloria
Feb 01, 2016 Laurel Deloria rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
A beautifully realized novel, in which a young woman triumphantly chooses independence over conformity. From a small, bogside cabin in rural New England, 38-year-old Aimee Slater unravels the story of her life, attempting to make sense of the tangled thread that leads from her mother's houseShe is perpetually caught between the sensual world she so desires and the divine retribution passed down to her by her mother's scorn. How Aimee ultimately creates a life for herself and bridges that distanc ...more
Laura
Feb 07, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jamie
Apr 21, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it
I was not certain I would like this book. The opening chapters are quite disturbing, and I was not sure I wanted to know the protagonist so well. But Graver does a wonderful job of exploring this character's falling apart and cobbling back to some kind of together, and in doing so, how broken relationships are still relationships of a kind, and the way longings can fiercely persist long after one has fallen to stubborn muteness. The final chapters were beautiful.
Fairlyfeisty Dragonwagon
Jan 22, 2008 Fairlyfeisty Dragonwagon rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not recommended; see alternatives in review
Shelves: novels
There are many, many novels about what happened to girls who had never been off the farm when they went to work in mill towns in the 18th century. This over-literary, self-conscious convoluted tale is not one of the better examples.

I suggest, if this subject interests you, Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy.

Still, like several here, once I had started I felt duty-bound to finish. Now why is that?
Cathi95
Jan 04, 2016 Cathi95 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
(Fiction 1997) It's really hard to say whether I liked or didn't like this book. It was interesting, and gave some insight as to living with the social mores of 19th century New England, but there was so much sadness in this woman's life. And her sadness makes for sadness in the lives of others. There were so many choices that led to all of this. Not much information here, but in a way, that's how the story went, too. Well written, pensive, occasional sunny moments.
Nancy
May 28, 2011 Nancy rated it it was ok
i felt betrayed by this book a bit, it's much darker and more difficult than the cover blurb led me to expect. partially because it touches on a very tender topic for me, but i think not entirely that. i had a hard time empathizing with any characters, they all seemed awkward in one way or another. the surreal writing style does match the mood, with a few brilliant moments.
Beth
Oct 15, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
Heartbreakingly beautiful, achingly sad, depicting early 19th century farm and factory life of a young girl with sensitivity and interesting historical detail. The pain and regret of Aimee's story was sometimes too drawn out and painful. Nonetheless, I could not put the novel down. UNRAVELLING is excellent historical fiction. I look forward to reading Graver's other novels.
maven
A lusciously-written story about one woman's life, from growing up on a farm to going to the city to work in a mill, and so on. The story is told many years later, but the "flashbacks" aren't done in a harsh or obvious way. Some of the hints and allusions seemed to suggest there was more to the story than was written, but I liked it despite this slight disappointment.
Katie Van Sloten
Dec 13, 2007 Katie Van Sloten rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: people who like to be depressed
If you are looking for a happy read - keep looking. Although I can appreciate the mother/daughter struggle, it was a little too passive/aggressive for my liking. I felt that the character remained stagnant - never a good thing for the main character in my opinion. The author's writing is good, however her subject matter is not.
kellie
Apr 30, 2007 kellie rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
This book was good enough to keep me reading it. There were things in the beginning that happened between a brother and sister that I would rather not have read and was glad for them to be over. I really liked parts of the book, but not the whole book.
Karen Hogan
Mar 17, 2012 Karen Hogan rated it liked it
We are our choices. Explores how one young girl's life unravels after a pregancy out of wedlock. Her self imposed exile from her family was both frustrating and sad at turns. Would read other works by this author.
Tracy
Sep 09, 2015 Tracy rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
Aug 08, 2007 Amy rated it did not like it
This book looked really interesting to me but I'm having a hard time getting into it and I'm about 2/3 the way through. I hate to give up on it but there's just nothing that's keeping me very engaged.
Gretchen Schaefer
Jul 24, 2009 Gretchen Schaefer rated it it was ok
I was engaged for the first 2/3 of the book. I didn't love it but was curious enough about this strange loaner of a woman who lived on a bog that I kept going. I felt like the last third of the book was more denouement than anything else and I found myself skimming.
Jacqueline115
Oct 08, 2007 Jacqueline115 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
yuck, did not like this book but forced myself to read it in hopes it would get better.
Cynthia Maltbie
A simple story and compelling.
Lisa Murray
haunting story of young woman who goes to work in mills of New England and returns home after birthing twins out of wedlock
Caitlin
Mar 12, 2011 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
UNEXPECTEDLY AWESOME!!!
amy
Jul 03, 2016 amy rated it liked it
and a half
Lauren Albert
Jun 10, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The character just didn't engage me and I found the story dragged.
Julie
Dec 06, 2009 Julie rated it liked it
Not as good as I had hoped, but somewhat redeemed by the last chapter ...
Jolanta Mazurek
May 10, 2008 Jolanta Mazurek rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
loved it
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Elizabeth Graver’s most recent novel, The End of the Point, is set in a summer community on Buzzard’s Bay from 1942 to 1999. The novel was one of ten works of fiction selected for the long list for the 2013 National Book Award in Fiction and received glowing reviews from the New York Times (where it was an Editors' Pick), Seattle Times, Bos
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