Penn State

Bonnie Imler - Associate Librarian, Penn State Altoona

Book Title: Baker Towers: A Novel

Author: Jennifer Haigh

Book Description:

This three-generation family saga takes place in a fictitious Central PA town and successfully captures both the culture of the various immigrant communities, and the political, financial, and social ties to the local industries. In these pages, there is a feeling of inevitability that life in this coal mining town will remain constant and that each generation will not wander far from that geographic location.   A few of the main characters are taken beyond the PA mountains and create lives for themselves in the outside world, while their siblings continue the same patterns of local life as those before them.  It is the interaction between those who escaped and those who remained that are the most poignant.  The author captures in few words the bittersweetness of homecoming and the disillusionment that can come from seeing one’s hometown with new eyes.  While it would go unnoticed by most readers, there is also a thinly veiled reference to Penn State Altoona hidden in the pages.

Jennifer Haigh grew up in Cambria County and was the most interesting person on my dormitory floor my freshman year at Dickinson College.  As we commuted back and forth together on school breaks, I had no idea the page-turning novels that lurked within her.


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