Harriet Doerr

"Stones for Ibarra"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark FEB 10, 1998)

Stones for Ibarra

Stones for Ibarra is about an American couple who decide to leave San Francisco to live in an old family home (without electricity and other amenities) in Mexico and reopen the family mine.  The adjustments they must make to live amongst the "natives" is nothing compared to what they learn about themselves and the eventual way they think of their neighbors.  Doerr captures the Latin American style of poetical thinking and if you like this style, you should read this novel. 

For me, when I'm surprised by a book that I just happen to pick up, then that book is forever tied with that location.  We spent one night at a marina in Key Biscayne waiting out some weather.  There wasn't much there, but one shelf of very old books in the Dock Manager's office (which was just a trailer).  We had just spent a week at anchor and I was in need of fresh reads so I picked up any book that might be worth something - I decided catching up on some "classics" would be good for me.  This was one of those books, along with Hemingway's Old Man in the Sea, which was also a good find!

  • Amazon readers' rating: from 27 reviews

"Consider This, Seņora"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark MAY 17, 1998)

Consider This, Senora

This is Doerr's second novel and it also takes place in Mexico.  A couple of North Americans decide to buy 4 hectares of land (ten acres) to build their own homes and to subdivide and sell to others.  Each of the North Americans have their own reason for being in this unmapped location, and  it is a wonderful story of just living.  Doerr writes visually and paints a very easy going picture between the lives of the natives and those of the newcomers.  I am very happy that Doerr took the opportunity to write so that she could share these beautiful images from her own experience.

  • Amazon readers' rating: from 10 reviews

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About the Author:

Harriet DoerrHarriet Doerr was born in Pasadena, California in 1910 and raised in California. She enrolled at Smith College in Massachusetts in 1927 before transferring the following year to Stanford University. She left school after her junior year to marry Albert Doerr and raise a family. Doerr returned to Stanford in 1977, after her huband's death, and completed her degree in European history. Doerr extended her studies into the field of creative writing and was awarded a Stegner fellowship in 1979. In 1982, she won the Henfield Foundation Award for a group of short stories which led to the publication of her first novel, Stones for Ibarra, two years later. Written under a National Endowment for the Arts grant, the book went on to win the American Book Award for First Fiction.

Harriet Doerr died at her home in Pasadena November 24, 2002 from complications following a broken hip suffered in a fall the previous month.

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