What the Thunder Said: A Novella and Stories
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What the Thunder Said: A Novella and Stories

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  48 ratings  ·  10 reviews
What the Thunder Said is the 2008 winner of the WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction.

In the Dust Bowl of 1930s Oklahoma, a family comes apart, as sisters Mackie and Etta Spoon keep secrets from their father, and from each other.


Etta, the dangerously impulsive favorite of her father, longs for adventure someplace far away from the bleak and near-barren plains, and...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 6th 2007)
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Karen
As a newcomer to Kansas and the Great Plains, I was enthralled with Peery's ability to tightly weave the landscape into her characters' choices, personality traits and world view. Her book is divided into two section: "Book One" about a Missouri man who moves west with a new bride and raises two daughters and takes on an almost-son farmhand. We watch them before, during and after the Dust Bowl, which does have an impact on their lives, but does not contain the main conflicts they have to manage....more
Bill Glose
The central character is Maxine Spoon, a woman who was born on an Oklahoma farm just before the dustbowl days of the Depression. Most of the stories depict Maxine’s point of view but some are told by those who cross paths with her or her kin. Regardless of the narrator, each story shows how the Depression left a life-long mark on those it touched.

As Peery writes, the “feeling dwells in you for life and haunts your sleep. Ask anybody who lived through those drouthy times; I’m not the only one wh...more
Lisa
Peery’s book consists of a novella and short stories, all character-focused with a strong sense of place. The works are loosely connected by members of the Spoon family, though each stands alone.
Many of Peery’s characters have set out running. They keep that on-the-lam mindset through their lives, whether it’s figurative or literal. They’re running from more than running to, and sometimes they’re running because it’s all they know.
Peery imparts a strong sense of place to her work. She describes...more
Kori
A compelling story told in small linked pieces, as well as a larger novella that frames the rest of the stories to come. As with Peery's other novel, it took me awhile to get into it, but the novella had me intensely emotionally involved and involved with the writing itself. My main quibble is that the novella was so outstanding that the rest of the book was massively overshadowed by it. I don't think this is something that should have been a linked collection - the main narrative is so striking...more
Kelley Ross
Although I did learn a little about the time period this book is set in, I found the story incredibly boring. The author is talented, so I'm sure the problem lies in the setting: maybe no author can make the dust bowl an interesting setting? Sometimes, I found the descriptions of hardship disturbing, although I can't decide whether that was a good or a bad thing.

I would recommend this book for historic fiction fanatics. Unless you have some fascination with the dust bowl or great depression alr...more
Abby Sominski
I don't know why I got this book out of the library but once I started it I knew I had to buy it (that is how I operate) and will read it again and again. The thing I liked best was its ability to transform me to the West in 1930's America and my ableness to relate to both the main characters and the great great story it told, very original!
Brian Lowery
A nice collection of a novella and other short stories that follows a family through Dust Bowl Oklahoma. We see a small slice of each family member's life. Through these glimpses, we begin to see the big picture, that through strife and pain, people persevere.
Jay Keys
Jul 10, 2007 Jay Keys is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am kinda of on a great plains...Kansas and Oklahoma kick recently...this is another dust bowl era novella and some other shorts.
Andrea
Fantastic collection of connected stories. Gorgeous writing (of course) which also manages to devastate at times.
Susan
I didn't finish all the stories, but really liked the novella. Her characters are believable, and their stories of the dust bowl and its harsh realities are too real. I read it, in part, because I know so little of this region/era.
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