By Harriette Arnow
with an afterword by Joyce Carol Oates
A bestseller for 31 weeks in America on its first publication in 1954, Harriette Arnow’s The Dollmaker is Vintage’s rediscovered classic of 2017.
Gertie is the young mother of five children – uneducated, determined, strong. Her only ambition is to own her own small farm in the Kentucky hills where she lives, to become self-sufficient and free.
Whenever the struggle to live off the land eases, her inarticulate imagination takes its freedom and flies. Because Gertie is also an artist, a sculptor of wood and creator of beautiful handmade dolls.
When the family is forced to move to industrial Detroit, with its pre-fab houses, appliances bought on credit and neighbours pressed in on every side, life turns into an incomprehensible, lonely nightmare. Gertie realises she must adapt to a life where land, family and creativity are replaced by just one thing: the constant need for money.