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Stones For Ibarra [Audio Cassette]

Harriet Doerr
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 1997
Two Americans, Richard and Sara Everton, are the only foreigners in Ibarra. They live among people who both respect and misunderstand them, and gradually, the villagers--at first enigmas to the Evertons--come to teach them much about life and the relentless tide of fate.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a flawless narrative - a minor masterpiece Sept. 24 1999
The comments by some of the reviewers are instructive more about themselves than about the work they review. The reviewer from Miami states that the narrative is exactly what one would one expect from such a character recounting her experiences to,let us say, her daughter. That is exactly the point of the book. The main character is not a sociologist. She simply received impressions, as most of us do, when we travel to Mexico or Greece or Italy, without either wholesale condemnation of people who live differently from middle-class Americans, nor extensive exoneration of their behavior by recourse to sociological explication of the effects of the history of exploitation and oppression. Let us understand plainly: the narrator is not the author, but a narrative voice (a character in the story) whose observations must correspond to the limitations of her concerns and her remembrances. The narrator plainly does not have any deep understanding of Mexico (she is no Octavio Paz), but that is much of the point of the story. Much of the value of the book is precisely the revelation of the disconnect between the Americans and the Mexicans - the inability to comprehend each other. If the narrator were truly to understand the Mexicans, or they her, the whole point of the book would have been lost. The reader from Seattle, on the other hand, has taken too many literature courses: she insists on a central character and a motif - preferably some kind of symbolic motif. The narrator in the story is not apt to construct her reminiscences in such a way as to revolve them about some central motif. She herself is the central character - everything is seen through her eyes and takes significance in terms of her own fate - culminating in the death of her husband and her departure from Mexico. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A big mistake Jan. 2 2004
Richard and Sara Everton move from a sophisticated life in San Francisco to an old adobe house in super-rural Mexico where, on some harebrained idea, they think they can make a go of it by re-opening a copper mine abandoned by Richard's grandfather. It's an idyllic dream, and there are many good moments. But from the very opening of the book, we're told Richard will die, Sara will deny their problems till the end, and they will leave Ibarra without having achieved their dreams. The range and depth of characters in the little town, the juxtaposition of one culture against another, the assimilation of the atheistic Americans into the intensely Catholic community, the gorgeous descriptions of the landscapes, and the many side stories of the myriad characters all contribute to this book's perennial popularity. One gets the sense that the author's love and affection for her characters is real.
It's a beautifully written book, and it's certainly incredible that Harriet Doerr wrote it, her first book (at least the first to be published), when she herself was already an old woman
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stones for Ibarra Feb. 14 1997
By A Customer
This is so much more than a love story, more than a memoir, more than an armchair tour of Mexico. The depth of the characters and the beauty of the narrative make this one of the best books I've every read (and I've read a bunch!) As you read the book, you know that fate is inevitable, yet you enjoy every step of the way. Living among native Mexicans, the American couple try to fit in, yet stand out. However over time they claim their own unique place in the town's community. Every minor character contributes to the novel, creating a setting that is unforgetable. The plot seems secondary to the characters and setting, yet it takes you in and sticks with you. A must read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Ms Doerr did not start writing until she was well into the golden years of her life, and the wait was oh-so-worth it. She has taken her experience in Mexico and written a book that makes you wonder why you live such an uncomplex life. I keep a copy in my library and revisit it annually to remind me of what great reading is supposed to feel like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very moving and evocative July 23 1999
By A Customer
This book has beautiful moments, emotions and impressions that are so beautifully written that I felt them myself. It also made me (at age 35) appreciate the perspective of an older woman, giving me a model for how I would like to be later. I loved it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stones for Ibarra July 31 2003
There is a quiet poignancy to Harriet Doerr's first novel, "Stones for Ibarra." Harriet Doerr writes of ordinary events in the lives of ordinary people. But, somehow, seen through the eyes of this talented author, every ordinary thing is transformed into something extraordinary.
This book spans the lives of Sara Everton and her husband, Richard. At the start of the novel, the Evertons have sold their possessions and are traveling through rural Mexico in order to begin a new life. They move into a vacant hacienda and re-open a copper mine which was abandoned sixty years earlier by Richard's grandfather. The hacienda and mine are on the outskirts of Ibarra, a village with 1 taxicab, 1 telephone and less than 1000 people. The nearest town is 80 kilometers away. Within six months of their arrival, Richard is diagnosed with leukemia. The Evertons approach their final years together with remarkable serenity and peace of mind. The imaginative, easily distracted Sara reflects upon her life and the lives of those around her with an almost childlike wonder.
This book is reminescent of Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio." Like Anderson, Harriet Doerr has a gift for turning the mundane into something remarkable and the ordinary into something extraordinary.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it Again in 15 Years
I bought this book when I was in my mid-30s, but it took until my late 40s to understand and appreciate it. Read more
Published on July 8 2003 by Nepenthe
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST OF THE BEST
This is one of the most beautiful novels I've ever read. Ms. Doerr's writing is lyrical, sometimes even poignant and comical in the same sentence (which is absolute magic. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2003 by MalibuRamos
5.0 out of 5 stars I was deeply touched
I found Stones for Ibarra to be excellent. Previous reviews have picked it apart in ways I consider missing the forest for the trees or perhaps the mine for the ore, to stretch a... Read more
Published on Oct. 19 2000 by A Denver reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Pause
People really shouldn't assume much when they decide to read this book. Nothing can really tell you what YOUR going to find inside, because it feels more like it's up to you. Read more
Published on April 30 2000 by Thessaly La Force
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant but not did not grip me
My somewhat contrarian view is that while this book was a pleasant read, it didn't take me anywhere. Read more
Published on April 29 2000 by kathleen means
5.0 out of 5 stars No Stones Thrown
I came online to order this book for the book club I'm in in Grand Coulee, Washington (Quite a Motley Crew living along the Columbia River). I read Stones for Ibarra a year ago. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2000 by Sherrill Castrodale
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving, expressive, and gorgeous
I first read this book many years ago, but have read and reread it many times since. This story is one of those rare masterpieces that only grows in beauty with each reading. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 1999 by Evan Stern
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
If your grandmother and grandfather had attempted to reopen an old copper mine in Mexico, this is exactly the sort of collection of stories your mother would have told you about... Read more
Published on Jan. 14 1999
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