Call Home the Heart

Call Home the Heart


Fielding Burke
A proletarian novel of the 1930s.

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Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 02-01--1983

Introduction by Alice Kessler-Harris and Paul Lauter
Afterword by Sylvia J. Cook and Anna W. Shannon

Call Home the Heart is the story of Ishma Waycaster, an impoverished woman who, pregnant for the third time and discouraged by the endless struggle of rural life in the Great Smoky Mountains, flees a mill town, where she becomes involved in union organizing and a bloody strike (modeled on the Gastonia strike of 1929). Burke provides a remarkably honest portrayal of the conflicts between Ishma's sexual and emotional needs and her intellectual and political loyalties, and of the racial issues raised by the strike.

"There is beauty of an inevitable kind in Call Home the Heart—the beauty of the mountains themselves, of wooded valleys at sunset, of a forest fire sweeping up over Dark Moon Ridge, or the morning mists lingering about the slopes of Cloudy Knob. This natural loveliness is set in almost painful contrast against the harsh actualities of mountain life, against the struggle, now bitter and now discouraged and half-hearted, with poverty and hunger, against the inescapable human facts of misery and dirt and disease and death." —New York Times

"Perhaps the best novel yet written of the industrial conflict in contemporary America." —Saturday Review