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Now in November
 
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Josephine Winslow Johnson
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Now in November

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,012 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
   Brilliant, evocative, poetic, savage, this Pulitzer Prize-winning first novel (1934), written when Josephine Winslow Johnson was only 24, depicts a white, middle-class urban family that is turned into dirt-poor farmers by the Depression and the great drought of the thirties. The novel moves through a single year and, at the same time, a decade of years, from the spring ...more
Leather Bound
Published by Franklin Library (first published 1934)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Diane S ☔
Dec 27, 2016 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our narrator Marget looks back twenty years trying to piece together the life of her family and in particular the year that would prove devastating, forever changing the contours of their family. She is ten, when her father loses his Job in the lumberyard and takes up tenant farming, land for which he takes on a ten year mortgage. Her elder sister Kerran and her younger sister Merle, mother and father, a father ill suited to farming but due to the depression has little recourse.

Beautiful prose,
...more
Rebecca Foster
I’d never heard of this 1935 Pulitzer Prize winner before I saw a large display of titles from publisher Head of Zeus’s new imprint, Apollo, at Foyles bookshop in London. Apollo, which launched with eight titles in April, aims to bring lesser-known classics out of obscurity: by making “great forgotten works of fiction available to a new generation of readers,” it intends to “challenge the established canon and surprise readers.”

Missouri-born Johnson was just 24 years old when she published Now i
...more
Scott Axsom
Sep 12, 2013 Scott Axsom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now in November is arguably the most relentlessly tragic novel I've read and, yet, I loved it. Josephine W. Johnson tells the grinding story of a year (and more) in the life of a farming family during the Dust Bowl. In it, she paints a highly detailed picture of the bucolic life that preceded this environmental catastrophe as well as the inexorable extinguishment of hope that accompanied it. She creates a world in which the peach blossoms of a bountiful spring are eventually replaced by drought- ...more
Bettie☯

Opening: Now in November I can see our years as a whole.This autumn is like both an end and a beginning to our lives, and those days which seemed confused with the blur of all things too near and too familiar are clear and strange now.

Well over expected enjoyment levels with this and I just so love pleasant surprises. Picked this up for the seasonal title, and as a hattip to US flisters celebrating their Turkey Day

What a shame this book has been smothered out of sight by The Grapes of Wrath; th
...more
Melanie
Jul 09, 2013 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, maps
I know I'm always searching for novels like this with characters that are as deeply committed to the land as they are to investigating the heft of their hearts.

Marget, Merle and Kerrin three sisters so unlike each other, with very individual hungers and yet all tied to a fierce, desperate existence on a farm that betrays them into poverty.

This Pulitzer Prize winning novel far surpassed any expectation I could have dreamed up. I could have been fooled into thinking I was reading Carson McCullers
...more
Jeanette
Tension pulled to the tautest line. Poignant and incredible experience of teenager angst and in some cases misery. But the drought escalates the entire to a pitch. It deserves 4 stars, but I can't round it up. It was not an easy book to read and the depth of the characterizations so profound that the reading, at times, became painful. I picked it up and down, changed books several times. This family held some 5 or 6 different brands of misery. And the language style was similar in that it wasn't ...more
Erika
This novel is like a strange and beautiful mashup between Faulkner, Upton Sinclair and Willa Cather. (One of the characters is even named “Willa,”--probably a nod toward Cather who was clearly an influence on the author.) While the writing in Now in November isn’t nearly as strong as any of those great three, it’s still worth a read.
The Haldemarnes are a repressed and frightened family struggling desperately to hold on to their farm during a long drought in the middle of the Depression. Told fr
...more
Daniel Villines
Oct 21, 2013 Daniel Villines rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My paternal grandparents lived through Great Depression on farms located in Arkansas and Oklahoma. In discussing their lives as they existed during these difficult times, they were always staid in their responses, seemingly in direct contrast to the lives and events depicted in Now in November. This is not to say that Now in November is not true to history. In fact, the stoicism expressed by my grandparents while describing their experiences may point out why Now in November is so important to h ...more
Tiffany
Nov 17, 2012 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now in November was a fantastic read for me. This is coming from a to be 16 year old girl. I would have never read or even heard of this book if it wasn't for an English assignment I had to do on Pulitzer Prize winners.
I've never read a book like this before. I've always kept my range of books around the genre of fantasy. This was a truly breathtaking experience for me. There were several passages that I had to read over several times just to pick up all the information. Not in a bad way, of co
...more
Tracy Shapley
Aug 28, 2010 Tracy Shapley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzer
This book was easily the best book I've read this year. It's hard to say, so soon after having read this book, how much it will still be with me in the long run but I do believe it will remain as one of my Top 5 books ever read.

If you like The Grapes of Wrath you will love this book. In fact, TGoW is my all time favorite book and yet I still think that Johnson did a better job of telling the story of the Great Depression.

Now in November won the Pulitzer in 1935, 5 years before The Grapes of Wrat
...more
Elena
Jun 02, 2016 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Those years went slowly for us. Slow because heavy with the weight of things done, and the greater weight of things unfinished and still to be learned. The seasons washed one into another and were never still but there was no swiftness nor anything but calm and gradual change. [...] And there was the double life, the two parts not within each other nor even parallel. The one made up of things done day after day with comfort and soberness, hard sometimes but solid - things you could lay your hand ...more
Roxanne Russell
I read this as part of my effort to read all of the Pulitzers for fiction, and I am so glad I did. I'm surprised this isn't a more solid part of the literary American canon in schools. It's like the more beautiful and secretly harder hitting sister to the Grapes of Wrath. The narrator is one of three sisters in a family struggling to survive and outlive their farm mortgage. The book builds to a climax of ultimate loss and the denouement offers only the steadiness and determination that this toug ...more
Donna
I can understand that this first novel won a Pulitzer in 1935. The author used hauntingly descriptive language to tell the story of a hard-luck farming family struggling through a year of drought and troubles. But even lovely words couldn't bring any hope for me as I also struggled to stick with this book. It's probably better than OK; some readers may find it a blessing or revelation. For me, it's a depressing Depression book and not much more.
Charity
Sep 01, 2008 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now in November is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. So poignant it hurts. The story starts sweetly enough, but this Pulitzer Prize winner (Josephine Winslow Johnson's first novel, by the way) packs a punch, like a John Steinbeck meets Willa Cather beautiful tragedy. However, the writing is so layered and lovely that you don't mind being wrecked, you welcome it.
Charlie
Another book I read for my 20th Century America class. I liked this one, almost as much as Hemingway’s stuff. The writing is very lyrical and pretty, and the scene where Merle and Marget run off into the woods when their father is angry at Kerrin is one of the most beautiful passages I’ve ever read in a novel before.

I like how it shows what individuals felt during the Great Depression. They were farmers that knew their neighbors and met a few people that passed through. They didn’t know about al
...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Rating it 4 stars, but this could easily be 5 stars. Yes it is 5 stars, I'm going back and changing it.

This book starts easily enough, and continues so for at least one-third of the book. I kept thinking they must have been hard up for choices for the Pulitzer in 1935. It is told in the first person by the middle daughter, Marget Haldmarne.

Now in November I can see our years as a whole. ... It has been a long year, longer and more full of meaning than all those ten years that went before it.

One
...more
Jimmy
Jul 25, 2014 Jimmy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulitzers
A very moving and elegant novel in the style of Willa Cather and, later, James Agee. It is a simple story about a family struggling to make it on a farm during the depression era and dust bowl years. There is tragedy, draught, and death. Although it seems to be a rather grim tale, the writing itself seems to minimize the desperation of the story by its simple beauty and elegance. If you are a reader who needs an active plot, with twists and turns, this book is not for you. If you are someone who ...more
Kate Woods Walker
Apr 03, 2012 Kate Woods Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Distinctly-styled and introspective, this Depression-era novel tells the story of a Dust Bowl family facing hunger, poverty and a world bereft of ease. Through the eyes of Marget, we learn the terrible stories of her parents, sisters and neighbors, and are left at the close of a long, dry season wondering how they, and we, can go just...one...more...step.

At the same time, Marget gives voice to the female soul coming of age--beautiful, deep, wise and appreciative of nature in all its gory violenc
...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a forgotten Pulitzer Prize winner from the 1930s, probably too obscure to call a classic. It depicts a family struggling to get by on their farm in the early years of the Great Depression, through the eyes of the middle of three daughters.

And it's a pretty good book: well written, and with some strong characterization, particularly of the two sisters and the neighbor who comes to live with the family as hired help. Still, although it's quite short, it took me awhile to finish: the author
...more
Z
Jan 20, 2015 Z rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like the author has just taken a writing class. Occasionally the story telling starts to get interesting and then she swoops off into purple prose. Some say it is poetic but it just feels pretentious. I can only imagine the Pulizer committee were impressed by her youth and the closeness of the subject matter.

I think I imagined it would like Little House on the Prairie for adults but there was little description or understanding of the privation surely suffered by a family reduced
...more
Cathy Elliott
What a depressing book! Well-written, and the author's style is distinctive and poetic - I understand how this was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. But maybe because I've heard stories about the depression and the drought years from my parents and grandparents, this was tough to read. The years of dashed hopes and stoicism was heart-wrenching, and the tough life could have been stories I heard in my childhood that seemed too exaggerated at the time. I'm glad I read it - but I'm going to pick up a chick ...more
Greg Stratman
Jul 13, 2016 Greg Stratman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little-known, Pulitzer-winning novel follows a family scratching out a meager existence during the Depression. Though less intense and epic than The Grapes of Wrath, this novel nonetheless depicts the family struggles with clarity and precision that help the reader feel the desperation, the fear, the hunger, and the waning hope.
Debra Dannheisser
A beautifully written story of the Great Depression. The families in this story never gave up hope as their crops failed and they suffered through many trials and tribulations. It is beautifully written.
Eric Whoosis
Feb 28, 2015 Eric Whoosis rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was written like a high school student who thinks they they can write. Couldn't even finish it.
Albert Dubreuil
Jan 08, 2013 Albert Dubreuil rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Worst of the 60+ Pulitzer Winners I've read so far. Not much of this story held my interest or made me want to keep reading.
Melissa (ladybug)
It was ok, but very disjointed. I had a hard time following the book.
Virginia Rounding
Bleak, but absolutely gripping.
Anto
May 04, 2017 Anto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars // vale la pena leggerlo anche solo per il meraviglioso stile narrativo dell'autrice
Kevin
Feb 21, 2017 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Touching coming-of-age story for girls in 1930's rural america. Johnson uses three sister to explore three reactions to the difficulties of life for women at that particular time and circumstances.
Sergey
Jul 05, 2013 Sergey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“hate is always easier to speak of than love. how shall i make love go through the sieve of words and come out something besides a pulp?”

“knowledge is a two-edged knife, all blade, with no handle for even the owner to strike out with.”


and now in afterthought, as the rain falls fiercely beyond the safety cover of these windows that beg for washing, this is a depressing piece of work. depressing, yet beautiful. the melancholy thread of those wonderful, beautiful words that run to chasm of life at
...more
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American novelist, poet, and essayist who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1935 at age 24 for her first novel, Now in November. Shortly thereafter, she published Winter Orchard, a collection of short stories that had previously appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, The St. Louis Review, and Hound & Horn. Of these stories, "Dark" won an O. Henry Award in 1934[1], and "John the Six" wo ...more
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