by Laird Hunt

Bloomsbury Publishing (2021)

Zorrie, by Laird Hunt is a brief but deep and beautiful portrait of a woman from the last century. However, Hunt’s desk side companions of authors Herodotus, Virginia Woolf, Gustave Flaubert, Michel Montaigne and Anne Frank indicate the themes are timeless and universal.

This is a story of orphaned Zorrie, born in 1909, who was raised by an aunt “who drank too deeply from the cup of bitterness after her failed marriage.” Even as a child Zorrie moved faster, climbed higher and worked harder than others. So when she took to putting aside her hoe and resting in the day, she wrote to a friend, “The world felt like it was slipping out of her fingers, that its contours and particulars were falling away.”

When reading Zorrie, you will learn of the life of this Indiana farm woman between her childhood and slowing down: her days as a “ghost girl” painting radium dials on clocks, her marriage and widowhood, her year in year out work running a 20 acre farm, her fascinating neighbors and her spur of the moment trip to Europe in her later years.

Don’t miss reading this book; Zorrie is a woman we were meant to know. This reader leaves you with one last quote: “Her aunt has disparaged the concept of hope with such a caustic efficiency that Zorrie had naturally learned to discount what had been an important part of her nature… hope had nonetheless often found a way to seep out and surprise her, bow graciously, extend its hand, and ask her to Dance.”

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