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The Time of Man

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Considered her finest work and an American classic, Roberts's novel traces the coming of age of Ellen Chesser, the daughter of a poor itinerant farmer. Against all privations and the forces that would subdue her, Ellen is sustained by a sense of wonder and by an awareness of her own being. Reduced to the bare elements of life, her world becomes a ceremony of daily duties t ...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published February 24th 2000 by University Press of Kentucky (first published 1935)
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This was an interesting one.

With this novel, I feel like i've just been on a nice trip. The novel is slow, almost gratingly so, but at the same time I feel that the level of detail that it presented was beautifully intimate. Ellen's story is a tough one to grasp at first; it doesn't have a lot of conflict, and there's no overarching plot. This is bottled life, captured amongst the Kentucky sharecroppers in the 1920's and preserved in these pages. Even more, it's the story of overcoming life's h
"The rocks fell where she laid them with a faint flat sound, and the afternoon seemed very still back of the dove calls and the cries of he plovers, back of a faint dying phrase, "in the time of man."

This is such a beautiful book. Apparently it was lost for a time until 1963 when Robert Penn Warren thankfully rediscovered it.

This book takes place very close to my home--just about an hour away in fact, in Nelson, Washington and Spencer Counties Kentucky. The time period is early 20th century. The
Mar 09, 2013 Phhornbuckle rated it really liked it
The cadence of Ellen's speech took some acclimation, but it has an almost poetic beauty as she makes such declarations as she will love Jasper "all her endurin days." Or when she comes across the grave of a powerful judge, she cries out, "I'm Ellen Chesser! I 'm here! I'm a-liven."For me, The Time of Man and Ellen's life represent what happens to a woman with imagination and dreams and absolutely no way to achieve them. Roberts has given us a profound look into the life of a sharecropper and a s ...more
Carolyn Tassie
Jun 23, 2015 Carolyn Tassie rated it liked it
I've had this book on my "bucket list" of reading for many years, so I am glad to have read it. At times it was tedious reading and at times so awesomely poetic. The last quarter of the book was worth, I think, of the slow beginning of the read.
Sep 16, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
I will write a full review of this book in a little while, but for now, let me just say that it is a great work of art detailing tennant farming life in the early 1920s. While I can barely imagine the lonliness and heartache associated with the lifestyle, EMR does a fantastic job pulling you into that world and leaving you with the same emotions and despair as her characters might feel. Beautifully written, complex story of a simple life.
Sep 22, 2013 Gretchen rated it liked it
It’s very wordy and a long slog, but there’s an interesting story buried in it. And if you’re someone who enjoys getting lost in well-evoked setting, you’ll be in clover.
This is a coming of age story set in rural Kentucky in the early 20th Century. It follows Ellen Chesser from 13 years old until late middle age. Ellen’s introspection is well handled as she matures throughout the course of the book.
Rita O'Connell
Sep 25, 2016 Rita O'Connell rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It reminded me si much of my maternal grandma and grandpa, who were tenant farmers in Missouri in the early twentieth century. The writing evokes the sights, smells and feeling of being in the country, poignantly recalling to my mind weekends spent on the farm. Even the poverty is the same. A beautifully written book.
Sherry Chandler
Feb 02, 2009 Sherry Chandler rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like to take it slow
Shelves: classics
I reviewed this at my blog.
Sep 14, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful book.
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