Blues for Hannah

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Jeremiah Mason is a college dropout and struggling artist dating LeeAnne, a nice Mormon girl majoring in elementary education, when he first meets Hannah, a dark-haired, guitar-playing songstress. Nearly twenty years later, he and LeeAnne are married, with a baby on the way, when he gets the news: Hannah has died in a fiery car crash, just as she always said she would. Jerry decides to go to Nebraska to identify the body, taking with him eight-year-old Sammy, who is the product of a night spent with Hannah. Author Tim Farrington artfully blends the story of Sammy and Jerry’s trip to Nebraska with flashbacks recalling an intense, fiery relationship between Jerry and Hannah, Jerry’s return to LeeAnne, and his subsequent infidelity, out of which Sammy is born, in Blues for Hannah.

Jerry is pulled between the freedom and passion embodied in Hannah and the family and stable lifestyle that LeeAnne offers him. He is not totally comfortable with either option and unable to devote himself entirely to either woman. Farrington provides some insightful observations on love and smoothly merges the present with the past . However, Jerry’s emotional selfishness and the portrayal of Hannah as an elusive free-spirit who will never tie herself to man or child and LeeAnne as an ever-enduring, patient homemaker create an unrealistic picture of women—although perhaps a fantasy of women as many men would have them—and an ultimately unsatisfying novel.