'A terrifying lesson in US history - and a haunting tragedy'. Guardian Gertie is the young mother of five children - uneducated, determined, strong. Her only ambition is to own her own small farm in the Kentucky hills where she lives, to become self-sufficient and free. Whenever the struggle to live off the land eases, her inarticulate imagination takes its freedom and flies. Because Gertie is also an artist, a sculptor of wood and creator of beautiful handmade dolls. When the family is forced to move to industrial Detroit, with its pre-fab houses, appliances bought on credit and neighbours on every side, life turns into an incomprehensible, lonely nightmare. Gertie realises she must adapt to a life where land, family and creativity are replaced by just one thing: the constant need for money. "A masterwork...A superb book of unforgettable strength and glowing richness". (New York Times). WITH AN AFTERWORD BY JOYCE CAROL OATES.