I was pondering Suckow's legacy as I looked over some dates, and realized that her first short story was published 90 years ago ("Uprooted," Feb. 1921). Our book selection for the 2011 annual meeting, Country People, was published in 1924.
It has been 51 years since her death, 119 years since her birth, and 22 years since Ferner's death. Our Association was formed 45 years ago.
And yet, each semester as I teach my Introduction to Literature class, I continue to find that my students understand her story "A Rural Community," and can relate with Ralph, the main character, who finds his home town changed and yet unchanged. Suckow's gift for the description of the midwestern small town streets, fields, and characters resonates with them.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Ruth Suckow’s The Folks
The public is invited to a discussion of Cedar Falls writer Ruth Suckow’s most famous novel, The Folks, Saturday, June 11 at 1 p.m. at the Hearst Center for the Arts.
Barbara Lounsberry, University of Northern Iowa emeritus professor of English, will lead the discussion of this 1934 Iowa novel set in Belmond (which means “beautiful world” in French). The novel follows Fred and Annie Ferguson, “the folks” of the title, and their children, from their start on an Iowa farm and as they branch out in the early twentieth century.
“The Folks has been called Suckow’s masterpiece,” Lounsberry explains. “Suckow captures with searing realism the joys and sorrows each generation meets, the challenges of leaving and returning, and the abiding Iowa earth.”
Copies of the novel are available in the “Iowa Section” of the Cedar Falls Public Library.
For further information, contact Lounsberry (Lounsberry@gmail.com).