Heart earth

by Ivan Doig

Hardcover, 1993




New York : Toronto : New York : Atheneum ; Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; Maxwell Macmillan International, 1993.


Biography & Autobiography. Nonfiction. HTML: Ivan Doig grew up with only a vague memory of his mother, Berneta, who died on his sixth birthday. Then he discovered a cache of her lettersâ??and through them, a spunky, passionate, can-do woman as at home in the saddle as behind a sewing machine, and as in love with language as Doig would prove to be. In this moving prequel to his acclaimed memoir This House of Sky, Doig brings to life his childhood before his mother's death and the family's journey from the Montana mountains to the Arizona desert and back again. He eloquently captures the texture of the American West during and after World War II, the fortune of a family, and one woman's indomitable spirit.

User reviews

LibraryThing member streamsong
In this beautiful, short book, Ivan Doig teaches us that ‘heart’ and ‘earth’ are separated only by a single transposable h.

This book is the prequel to Doig’s memoir, House of Sky. It tells the story of Doig’s mother, Berneta Ringer Doig, in the year immediately prior to her death when
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Ivan was five years old.

It is based on letters written by Berneta to her brother who was serving in WWll aboard the USS Ault. Many years after her death and after the publication of This House of Sky, Doig’s uncle gave these previously unknown letters to Doig. So we see the events described in this book both through the memories of a small sensitive boy whose only companions were grownups and the boy’s mother.

Berneta battled both asthma and the hardships of a remote, hardscrabble sheep ranch; her love of words shine through the letters she wrote sixty years earlier and through her son’s memories.

Doig marvels that although he lost his mother at such a young age, he finds such pieces of his mother’s soul in his own.

This book is a wonderful portrait of a family enduring hard times and is well worth the read.
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LibraryThing member Craig_Pratt7052
Excellent read if you liked This House of Sky
LibraryThing member RBeffa
Very interesting memoir told in an interesting and unusual fashion. Ivan's mother died when he had just turned 6 years of age. As time moved on his memories of her were pretty dim. Much later in life he was bequeathed a collection of letters upon the death of his Uncle Wally. These were letters
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that his mother had written to her brother who served on a navy destroyer. Together with Ivan's own memories and historical knowledge he recreates and shows us the hardships of the early and WWII home-front life they went through.

This is a short book and a fairly quick read. I really liked this a lot. It stirs one's soul a bit. The language in here is kind of fun to chew on. I haven't read one of Doig's novels in a long time. I need to work on that.
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
This installment of Ivan Doig's autobiographical stories of life in Montana is one of his shortest books. Doig's prose, eloquent as ever, is focused on his mother, Berneta, who died when he was young. As I work my way through Doig's books I feel that I am connecting more and more to his family, his
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life in Montana, and his prose. Fascinating!
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
A lovely book. Doig used the few letters from his mother to her brother, his sketchy memories from before he was six, and probably some family stories and research to come up with this story about his mother. Touching, inspiring, poignant, and beautiful writing. A very good picture of life in
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extremely rural America during WWII, although that is not the focus, just a circumstance.
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LibraryThing member m.belljackson
Ivan Doig here hits his stride, leading from the slow moving and uneven memoirs of House of Sky and Winter Brothers,
into the evolution of his novels.

Letters willed to him from his Uncle Wally guide the progression from the Montana mountains to the Arizona deserts,
as the Family deals with Bernata's
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asthma and Charlie's recovery.

(Map, oh Map, Our Kingdom for a Map...!)

I was drawn to Ivan's tenderhearted Grandma, rather than to his Trapline Mother.
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Local notes

signed by author



Other editions

Heart earth by Ivan Doig (Hardcover)
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