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Islanders

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  22 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
   First published in 1927, this novel tells the story of an indomitable woman who serves for almost 80 years as a caretaker, first to her parents, then to her siblings, her children, and ultimately, her grandniece to whom she passes on her metaphoric vision of women of women as "islanders."
Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 1st 1993 by The Feminist Press at CUNY (first published October 1st 1927)
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Jonathan
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another relatively buried feminist novel of the Mid-West, and one which again reiterates the central role played by women in the establishment of the American heartland.

We follow Ellen Dacey from her teenage years in the 1840’s to her death. Men dictate, dominate and distort her life both by their presence and their absence. Her struggles are not just against the land but against the insidious workings of patriarchy. Much weight is placed, and correctly so, on the importance of economics – on t
...more
Diane Barnes
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a most wonderful book about an unmarried woman who ends up being a caretaker and unsung hero for 4 generations of her family. Her young fiance, along with her father and older brother, leave the family farm in Michigan to join the goldrush to California. She and her mother keep things going, in addition to raising the youngest brother, Thurston. Only the father returns, 20 years later. Ellen Dacey manages the farm until her father sells it out from under her. Thurston marries and has a f ...more
Carla
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary novel written in 1927, and one that's feminist in the truest sense. Hull manages to communicate her heroine's continually expanding view of the world, even as the circumstances of her life narrow. It's a tricky balancing act, but this author handles it deftly. Why this author isn't better known is beyone me.
Heather
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful, powerful book follows the long life of Ellen Dacey from youth to old age. Published in the 1920s and set from the time of the Gold Rush to World War I, it examines Ellen's life as a single woman strong and independent minded despite the men who control her material life. The impact of Ellen upon the family she cares for, especially Anne her grand-niece, resonates through the novel and shows that Ellen, while an islander isolated from the greater world and dependent upon men able ...more
Diane
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a phenomenal book about the role women have in society, and the limits placed on us all. Reading it, to my surprise many phrases, limits which were lodged in my subconscious percolated to the forefront of my mind. Women's voices long forgotten echoed in the depths of my mind, finally allowing me to decided the validity of their presence, ultimately freeing me from their bonds. I highly recommend this book to all.
Melinda
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Groundbreaking for its day, this novel reads very melodramatic now, a whirling account of 80 years a spinster.
Mac
Dec 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
A forgotten gem!
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500 Great Books B...: Islanders - Helen R. Hull 2 18 Jul 02, 2015 08:30AM  
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Helen Hull was brought up in Michigan, the eldest child of a schools superintendent and a former teacher. Early on she and her brother became financially responsible for their family. She went to Lansing High School and Michigan State University and was a schoolteacher; after graduate work she went to Wellesley College to teach creative writing. Here she met Mabel Louise Robinson with whom she liv ...more
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