The Well and the Mine and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The Well and the Mine on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Well and Mine, The [Paperback]

Gin Phillips


Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $13.36  
Paperback, Feb. 11 2008 --  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

Feb. 11 2008
An assured, inspiring debut which demonstrates the power of the human spirit to give comfort in times of hardship. In 1931 Carbon Hill, a small Alabama coal-mining town, nine-year-old Tess Moore watches from the darkness of her back porch as a strange woman lifts the cover off the family well and tosses a baby in without a word. It is the height of the Depression; while Tess's father, Albert, performs backbreaking and dangerous work at the mine, her mother, Leta, makes do without meat on her table. But the family are luckier than most; the food they can grow on their plot of land has so far saved them from the crippling poverty and near-starvation that besets their neighbours. As Tess tries to unravel the mystery of the woman at the well, a portrait emerges of a family and a community struggling to survive the darkest of times. Resonant, vivid and clear-eyed in its portrayal of both the best and the worst of human nature, The Well and the Mine is a stunning novel about love, hope and the importance of doing the right thing.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: Hawthorne Books (Feb. 11 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976631172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976631170
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.8 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,830,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A tight-knit miner's family struggles against poverty and racism in Phillips's evocative first novel, set in Depression-era Alabama. Throughout, she moves skillfully between the points of view of miner father Albert, hard-working mother Leta, young daughter Tess and teenage daughter Virgie, and small son Jack. They see men who are frequently incapacitated or killed by accidents in the local mines; neighbors live off what they can grow on their patch of land; and blacks like Albert's fellow miner and friend Jonah are segregated in another part of Carbon Hill—and often hauled off to jail arbitrarily. When Tess witnesses a woman throwing a baby into their well, no one believes her until the dead child is found, and few are shocked. Tess, hounded by nightmares, and Virgie, on the cusp of womanhood and resistant to the thought of an early marriage to the local boys who court her, begin making inquiries of their own, visiting wives who've recently had babies and learning way more than they imagined. With a wisp of suspense, Phillips fully enters the lives of her honorable characters and brings them vibrantly to the page. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

** 'Gripping Red ** 'A lovely, subtle novel, a moving portrait of the Depression-era American south Observer ** 'A gentle, thoughtful and moving book Psychologies ** 'Phillips portrays the characters with uncommon clarity, demonstrating human nature at its best and worst. The result is a book that triumphs on the insight as much as the lyricism of its narrative Easy Living

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.ca
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  80 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish my mother could read this April 9 2009
By California Doc - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As I read this book, I wished my mother was still alive to read it. It tells the story of a young girl and her family during the Depression. Like my mother, her father is a coal miner working for $8 a week. Reminders of the things that families did to survive during that time - eating a potato for lunch, putting cardboard in your shoes to make them last longer, working 350 hours in a month to pay your child's hospital bill - can help us gain perspective on the challenges we're facing now - and perhaps how we might use them to make our families stronger. My mother told me about those times. About how her older sister quit school rather than go without shoes. About how her father was murdered over a coal mine. About making a meal out of a piece of bread and a little sugar. I know she would have connected with this little girl.
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Southern Novel from Debut Novelist Feb. 6 2008
By A. Rodriguez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It's no wonder this book is getting huge buzz--it's a fantastic read that would appeal to anyone who loves Southern literature from the work of Fannie Flagg to Flannery O'Connor's; from Anne Rivers Siddon's books to William Faulkner novels. Really, this book appeals to anyone who loves a good story, rendered well. Phillips writing is somehow simultaneously fluid and hard-edged, and she knows her characters well enough to make their lives feel real to readers. This is one of the best books I've read in 2008. Highly recommended.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A promising, though flawed, debut Aug. 8 2009
By laytonwoman3rd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mention fiction written from multiple points of view, and whose work comes instantly to mind? Well, if it's MY mind, the answer is William Faulkner--The Sound and the Fury; As I Lay Dying. It's an ambitious undertaking, and when Faulkner did it, it was considered experimental. In The Well and the Mine, Gin Phillips has chosen to tell a fairly simple story through multiple narrative voices, one for each of the five members of the Moore family of Carbon Hill, Alabama.

The central plot element of this novel is the search for the woman who threw a baby into the Moores' covered well one dark night. Nine-year-old Tess Moore saw it happen, so she and her older sister, Virgie, set out to discover whether all the newish babies in the community are alive and well. In the process, they introduce us not only to the Moores, but to quite a few of their friends and acquaintances as well.

The technique of changing narrators doesn't feel experimental anymore, but there were times in this book where it did not work particularly well. Some of the change-overs were just awkward, and at first the girls' voices were not quite distinct from one another, despite the difference in their ages. The odd layout of the text at the beginning of each new section also contributed to a disjointed feeling for me. It's hard to describe, but if you use the "Look Inside" feature of this site, and click on "surprise me" once or twice, you'll probably come across an example of what I mean.

I tried very hard not to make comparisons to To Kill a Mockingbird, as others have done, while reading this story. To do so, I think, is to shortchange Gin Phillips. Despite a story line that I found less than compelling, and an anti-climactic ending, Phillips has given us a novel with characters more complicated than Lee's, in a Southern setting profoundly realistic. While this is presented as a reminiscence, it is virtually free of the nostalgia that permeates Scout Finch's look back in time. Finally, I would be very much surprised if this is the only novel Ms. Phillips has in her, and I will look forward to more of her writing.
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "How alike we were- man and dirt, black and buried underground, hardening more every day..." March 21 2008
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Phillips slices into the bittersweet lives of the Moore family in 1931 Carbon Hill, Alabama, a mining town suffering the effects of the Depression. Their eyes focused hopefully on Roosevelt's New Deal, townspeople help one another survive the desperation gripping the country, although racial inequity still festers beneath the surface of daily life. When a lone woman drops a small bundle into the covered well on the Moore's back porch, nine-year-old Tess is invisible to the visitor, obscured in the evening shadows. Watching the woman, a stranger, Tess is frozen in shock, unable to speak. When she tells her parents, they attribute Tess's excitement to yet another fanciful idea, but are proven wrong the next day when the body of a baby is retrieved from the well. While much neighborly curiosity ensues, after a while it is only Tess and Virgie, 14, who are unable to forget the event. Life is far too difficult to tarry long over the infant in the well.

Because Albert Moore owns land, his family will not go hungry; but those coming to this family's door are never sent away empty-handed. There is a strong current of community that serves this town well, the mines swallowing able men before light, spewing them back in the dark, coal-stained, to spend a few precious hours with their families. In a home built on strong values, Leta and Albert treasure their children, the impudent and curious Tess, teen-aged Virgie, navigating her adolescence and Jack, a bit younger than Tess and all boy. This is a family nurtured on respect and hard work, the children basking in their parent's solicitude and moral direction. It is this moral sense that confounds young Tess as she grapples with an unidentified woman's motivation in tossing her child into the back porch well. Told from the various perspectives of family members, an image emerges of life in a mining community faced with the daunting challenges of the times.

Through Albert, the father, we learn of the racial prejudice that seethes beneath the surface in Carbon Hill, the rigid attitudes that circumscribe Albert's efforts to connect with Jonah, a black friend and co-worker. Much as he might hope, a real friendship isn't possible, the ramifications for Albert's children's futures too risky. The back-breaking work of the mines informs this family's daily rituals, the children lovingly tended as they sample the realities of the world they inhabit. While the question of the mother's identity is an underlying theme, so is the simplicity of these lives, the hope for better working conditions through the UMW and the solid values that make such an existence bearable. This is a vivid palette of the experiences that define former generations, stoic in their hardship, their Christian doctrines challenged by racial prejudice, poverty and one mother's desperate action. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Southern Sense of Place March 3 2008
By LAW woman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This lovely story of ordinary people, doing ordinary things, in extraordinary times is a beautiful example of southern life where poverty is common yet never an excuse. People work hard, they take care of each other, and they find joy in simple things. This book captures the dialect of the South and the reader feels the cold, wet darkness of the mine as well as the sunny fields essential to the family's life. I loved it!

Look for similar items by category


Feedback