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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  233 ratings  ·  31 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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North and South by Elizabeth GaskellThe Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate AlcottEmmeline by Judith RossnerMrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy WinnShirley by Charlotte Brontë
Textile Mill Fiction
8th out of 84 books — 4 voters
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate AlcottEmmeline by Judith RossnerMrs. Somebody Somebody by Tracy WinnUnravelling by Elizabeth GraverLyddie by Katherine Paterson
Lowell Mills
4th out of 54 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

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Dec 28, 2007 Laurel rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Oct 28, 2008 Jude rated it 4 of 5 stars
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:>!
Jul 25, 2011 Jennifer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
May 23, 2009 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Oct 15, 2007 Margo rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
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
Cynthia Maltbie
A simple story and compelling.
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 2 of 5 stars
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?
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.
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.
Katie Van Sloten
Dec 16, 2007 Katie Van Sloten rated it 2 of 5 stars
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.
Gretchen Schaefer
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.
Aug 09, 2007 kellie rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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.
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.
Hannah Baker
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen Day
Love, loved it. So psychologically complicated and true. The ending made me weep. Well done!
Gisela Claveria
this book reminds me that as a woman living in the 21st century i really have it "easy".
yuck, did not like this book but forced myself to read it in hopes it would get better.
Gailyn Bybee
This book is full of beautiful sadness.
I will read it again, very soon.
Not as good as I had hoped, but somewhat redeemed by the last chapter ...
Lauren Albert
The character just didn't engage me and I found the story dragged.
Beautifully written, and deeply moving... I'd recommend this book.
Really strange and interesting story.
Havn't made up my mind yet.
Review coming soon...
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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
More about Elizabeth Graver...
The End of the Point The Honey Thief Awake Have You Seen Me? Story Magazine

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