The Girl

New Edition Coming Soon—Fall 2022

THE GIRL by Meridel LeSueur


The Girl by Meridel LeSueur book cover

The Girl, 2022 Edition

This celebrated novel, by one of the leading radical women writers of the twentieth century, is now reissued.

The Girl explores the fate of a farm girl who moves to the “dark city” of St. Paul, Minnesota during the Great Depression. There, she struggles to survive the death of her lover, who was killed in a bank robbery, and gives birth to her daughter, her hope for a new generation.

The Girl was written in 1939, and first published in 1978 by West End Press. Midwest Villages & Voices now publishes this new edition, a reprint of the original literary work. It includes new essays by family members and a foreword by Margaret Randall—poet, translator, and social activist—who sets the novel in an updated social and historical context.

Meridel LeSueur (1900-1996) was one of the great women literary voices of her time. She described her own roots as springing from “preachers, abolitionists, agrarians, radical lawyers on the Lincoln, Illinois, circuit. Dissenters and democrats and radicals through five generations.” Her writings were grounded in these stories of working people, the poor, the disenfranchised, and the dispossessed. She captures history as a living, moving entity in our lives.

I’ll never forget that summer as long as I live. That big old warehouse where we all lived, five floors, mostly women and it was cool too, with thick brick walls and high windows where sometimes the sun came through like in a temple. . . .  A guy had run electric wires from the outside to the floor we lived on, the second, so we could have lights and an electric plate when nobody was looking. Sometimes cops came, seeing a light, but we had a system of jiggers, it was called, jiggers the cops are coming. It would start at the bottom and go right up through the building.  -from The Girl

What readers have said

“… The strength of all the women in this novel is astounding when you read what is not even mentioned. This is a subtle yet powerful book.”

“Le Sueur seems in love with the spoken word, and her consummate achievement as an artist, I believe, is her transformation of colloquial speech into musical prose. In The Girl…common street talk turns into exquisite poetic refrains.”
— Blanche Gelfant, New York Times Book Review

“Meridel Le Sueur’s work stands, urgent and unique, at that ‘bloody crossroads’ where politics and culture meet…Modernist literary experimentalism engages a distinctively feminist conception of how people defend themselves and organize for change.”
— Paul Lauter, A. K. and G. M. Smith Professor of Literature, Trinity College

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