Cover image for The long-shining waters
Title:
The long-shining waters
ISBN:
9781571310835
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Minneapolis, Minn. : Milkweed Editions, 2011.
Physical Description:
274 p. ; 23 cm.
Summary:
Lake Superior, the north country, the great fresh-water expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. The Long-Shining Waters gives us three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography. In 1622, Grey Rabbit-an Ojibwe woman, a mother and wife-struggles to understand a dream-life that has taken on fearful dimensions. As she and her family confront the hardship of living near the "big water," her psyche and her world edge toward irreversible change. In 1902, Berit and Gunnar, a Norwegian fishing couple, also live on the lake. Berit is unable to conceive, and the lake anchors her isolated life, testing the limits of her endurance and spirit. And in 2000, when Nora, a seasoned bar owner, loses her job and is faced with an open-ended future, she is drawn reluctantly into a road trip around the great lake. As these narratives unfold and overlap with the mesmerizing rhythm of waves, a fourth mysterious character gradually comes into stark relief. Rich in historical detail, and universal in its exploration of the human desire for meaning when faced with uncertainty.
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Summary

Summary

Lake Superior, the north country, the great fresh-water expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. The Long-Shining Waters gives us three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography.

In 1622, Grey Rabbit--an Ojibwe woman, a mother and wife--struggles to understand a dream-life that has taken on fearful dimensions. As she and her family confront the hardship of living near the "big water," her psyche and her world edge toward irreversible change. In 1902, Berit and Gunnar, a Norwegian fishing couple, also live on the lake. Berit is unable to conceive, and the lake anchors her isolated life, testing the limits of her endurance and spirit. And in 2000,when Nora, a seasoned bar owner, loses her job and is faced with an open-ended future, she is drawn reluctantly into a road trip around the great lake.

As these narratives unfold and overlap with the mesmerizing rhythm of waves, a fourth mysterious character gradually comes into stark relief. Rich in historical detail, and universal in its exploration of the human desire for meaning when faced with uncertainty, The Long-Shining Waters is an unforgettable and singular debut.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Lake Superior proves to be more than a bucolic backdrop for Sosin's debut novel. It swallows fishing nets, boats, and even men, and shapes the lives of three women from different eras: Grey Rabbit, an Ojibwe woman following seasonal routes with her family in 1622 and struggling to feed her children; Berit Kleiven, who lives in a lonely cove with her husband, Gunnar, in 1902; and Nora Truneau, a Duluth bar owner who explores the lake in 2000 after a crisis. Grey Rabbit is troubled by dreams of her youngest son. After a harsh winter, even a full belly in the spring can't assuage her fears, and the arrival of goods from white civilization-the first her tribe has seen-feels ominous. Almost three centuries later, Berit and Gunnar enjoy a sexual reawakening after a miscarriage, and 100 years after that, the fire that destroys Nora's bar sends her to Superior's shores for solace. Like Grey Rabbit, she too is haunted by dreams and hopes that her journey will give her direction. Sosin writes sensuously detailed prose and distills the emotions of her characters into a profound and universal need for acceptance and love. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Lake Superior, the largest of America's inland seas, is the cold, unfathomable heart of this three-tiered story of three women living on the lake in three eras of change. In 1622, Grey Rabbit, an Ojibwe wife and mother, is beset by frightening dreams. In 1902, Berit lives in newfound bliss with her fisherman husband in an isolated cabin. In 2000, bar owner Nora revels in the camaraderie of the regulars and the rhythm of her work. Sosin circles from time frame to time frame in short, dramatic chapters, describing the fabled lake and the region's gloriously harsh weather in language that shimmers, sings, and rages like the northern lights, sun on water, birdcalls, waves, and wind. Gradually, each singularly observant and brooding woman is forced to confront storms of upheaval and loss. Sosin writes with quiet authority about how each woman copes with grief, subtly illuminating the ways human society changes over the centuries, while the lake remains the same, magnificent and terrifying. A mechanistic plot threatens but does not undermine the novel's haunting ambience, emotional authenticity, and profound resonance.--Seaman, Donn. Copyright 2010 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, Sosin's first novel interweaves three story lines about women in transition from three distinct eras, with Lake Superior as the unifying element. In 1622, an Ojibwe woman is haunted by troubling dreams she's unable to interpret. In 1902, a Norwegian fisherman's wife must cope with her isolation on the lake's North Shore after her husband's disappearance. In 2000, a disaster forces a bar owner in Superior, WI, to reassess her life. Verdict Rich in sensory detail, Sosin's impressionistic writing is more about evoking mood and layers of meaning than plot. Other than the geographic setting, there is no obvious connection among the three stories, but perceptive readers will be delighted by subtle parallels and recurring images. The transitory nature of human life, contrasted with the timelessness of the Great Lake, seems an overarching theme. Expect strong regional interest, as well as crossover appeal for those who like nature writing and poetry.-Christine DeZelar-Tiedman, Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.