Lois Phillips Hudson
Lois Phillips Hudson was born in 1927 in Jamestown, North Dakota, where she spent her early childhood before moving with her family at the age of nine to the Pacific Northwest. Hudson holds a master's degree in Old and Middle English and Medieval Literature from Cornell University and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of North Dakota (1987). She taught in the English and Modern Language Department at North Dakota State University in the 1960s before moving to Arcata, California.
In 1969 Hudson was appointed to teach in the creative writing program at the University of Washington, Seattle and is currently an associate professor emerita at the University of Washington. Married and the mother of two daughters, Laura and Lucy, Hudson lives in Redmond, Washington.
Lois Hudson is recognized as a major chronicler of America's agricultural heartland during the grim years of the Great Depression. Her first novel, The Bones of Plenty, won the Friends of American Writers First Prize. Both the novel and her memoir, Reapers of the Dust: A Prairie Chronicle, originally published by Atlantic-Little, Brown, have been issued in a second edition by the Minnesota State Historical Society Press.
The Bones of Plenty
The Bones of Plenty is a powerful and absorbing novel about the struggles of a proud North Dakota wheat-farming family during the Great Depression. Hudson eloquently portrays George Custer, a determined and angry man who must battle both the land and the landlord; his hard-working wife Rachel; and their young and vulnerable daughter Lucy. Through their compelling story looms a sense of a whole nation's tragedy.
As a story of farm life in the 1930s on the prairies of North Dakota, The Bones of Plenty has been compared in its treatment of the Dust Bowl years to Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, with some critics suggesting a more honest and realistic treatment of the subject. The book appears regularly on high school and college recommended reading lists of the rural or Midwest
Besides the twin evils of drought and depression, George Armstrong Custer is handicapped by some of the personality traits associated with his famous namesake: he is rash, impulsive, and overly optimistic. Equally scornful of government programs and collective action by farmers, he tries to rely on his own abilities, takes long chances, and fails. Although the novel is about the "farm problem," no solution is offered. The author reminds her readers that for many farmers the depression has never ended. Like short stories, the novel is skillfully written. It consists of a series of episodes, many of them drawn from her own experience. (Hamlin Garland and Midwest Farm Fiction)