No Matter How Many Windows
by Jeanne Bryner


Jeanne Bryner    No Matter How Many Windows

No Matter How Many Windows may be obtained from your local bookstore, from on-line vendors such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or from the publisher.

Jeanne Bryner has given us perhaps her best work yet in No Matter How Many Windows. A project that involved over six years of research and writing, this collection of four family voices is as varied and surprising as a choral motet. The stories of four women, beginning with great-grandmother Bertha White Stiles, show us how we, too, can bear the blazing joy and pain of a world full of “risk and gamble.” 
— Joyce Dyer

No Matter How Many Windows is the winner of the 2011 Tillie Olsen Prize from the Working-Class Studies Association.   Working from years of research into family history, Bryner has pieced together the stories of four generations of women — her great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and herself — who made their lives in rural West Virginia and industrial Ohio.  See commentary at

Using saved letters, old photographs and documents, Jeanne Bryner has assembled a powerfully engaging testimonial to the courage and endurance of her female ancestors. Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, their hardscrabble lives of making-do, barely in rural West Virginia and later in housing projects of industrialized Ohio, are vibrantly presented. Bryner's good ear for language allows us to hear the down home music of colloquial speech, and her clear eye for particulars is on target. The “birthday card dollar,” “rolling pin,” “jars clanking in a canner,” the words themselves call back another time of women overcoming the odds. This is a moving and memorable book that deserves our praise. 
— Colette Inez

With a passion for naming each bruised face within four generations of women, Jeanne Bryner delivers in this impressive volume a poignant examination of a family caught in the hard-scrabble poverty of Appalachia. Her dependably deft use of imagery and finely paced storytelling create poems to which readers will return for sustenance and probing insights into both horrors and delights of being family.
— Marc Harshman