Hometown Brew

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Mar 6, 2013 - Fiction - 240 pages
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From a writer whose work Robert Coover has described as "subtle, wise, intricate, innovative," a rich novel of family rivalries, corporate maneuvers, and sexual intrigue--set in a small Wisconsin beer town.
In the background: a small family-run brewery, Gutenbier, whose backward business practices have been miraculously transformed into an asset by the new vogue for microbreweries and designer beverages.
At the center: two women whose world is the brewery. Melissa Johnson is the heiress to Gutenbier, and Alice Reinhart works there. On her father's death, Melissa inherits the chairmanship everyone expected to go to her brother and finds herself resented by both workers and management. Alice, returning from New York and a bad marriage, takes up her job in the brewery only to discover that an indiscretion she committed at seventeen has surfaced and has made her the object of a series of seemingly innocent pranks that slowly reveal a darker intent. As these two women fight the forces arrayed against them and the novel moves toward its climax, the business, the politics--the life--of a town are compellingly portrayed.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Szitas - LibraryThing

I really enjoy the writing style and character development of this novel, let alone the setting! But the graphic attack in the mash kettle at the end ruined it for me; I cannot stomache such explicit details. I also find the resolution around Melissa's household satisfying but very unlikely. Read full review

Home-town brew: a novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Akins's first novel since the well-received Public Life (LJ 5/1/93) traces the fortunes of a small-town family of brewers. In the opening chapters, Melissa Johnson, the brewery owner's daughter, is an ... Read full review


Part Two Chapter 16
Part Three Chapter 33
Part Four Chapter 43

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About the author (2013)

Ellen Akins is the author of three earlier novels, Public Life, Home Movie, and Little Woman, and a collection of short stories, World Like a Knife. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Whiting Writer's Award. She lives in Cornucopia, Wisconsin.

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