Of the characters who vanish, some hope to forget their connections to the farm and to the people who remain there; others try to remember but with only tentative results. The great-granddaughter of one of the main characters decides "that there was no way to erase memory; instead, you could learn to bear the things that had been, to fold them into who you were and who you would be. You could learn to forgive the fates and move on, and find your way to the light, out from the long, dark shadow of the past." It is the measure of Ellen Baker's success that she makes this journey from the shadowed past real and deeply moving.
Ellen Baker reads from I Gave My Heart to Know This at Nicola's Books on Monday, August 29.
[Originally published in August, 2011.]