The MacDowell Colony 

A Family Crisis
Edward MacDowell and Marian


  All of the works in this series explore the dynamics of families under pressure. Such a formula for fiction risks descending to mere melodrama. The writers, however, recount family crises in order to demonstrate the essential nature of these families, or of family itself. Faced with crisis, families reveal what they are; they may unravel, or they may discover a new strength. The family of Monkeys confront the death of the mother, while the Eberhardts of Family Pictures struggle to include an autistic child. These problems are sometimes unusual, but they also partake of forces that many families must confront; poverty (The Beans of Egypt, Maine); cultural change (Tell Me a Riddle, O, Pioneers). Proud Shoes is a true family chronicle by a women ahead of her time and simultaneously an account of the family that shaped one of our most versatile black activists.

Series A
Sue Miller, Family Pictures

Jayne Anne Phillips, Machine Dreams

Willa Cather, O, Pioneers

Susan Minot, Monkeys

Series B
Carolyn Chute, The Beans of Egypt, Maine

Rosellen Brown, Before and After

Gish Jen, Typical American

Tillie Olsen, Tell Me a Riddle

This reading list was developed through the Book Discussion Programs, a collaborative project of the New Hampshire Humanities Council and the New Hampshire State Library.

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