Spotlight Title: Itascabooks.com
Oh, those formation years—coming of age never ends until it’s time to leave this earth for good. Callandra Mae Lindstrom, a once feisty girl grown into a promising young woman, approaches her middle years altered by domestic issues.
During the road trip back home from Illinois, where she and her father Will traveled in search of Uncle Amer’s gravesite, Callie spends time behind the wheel coming to terms with her personal struggles. In doing so, she reflects on the lives of others, including former residents of Masterton, her captivating hometown. The ways in which these people survived or succumbed to their own painful experiences serve as critical lessons, helping Callie to get on in the world as she alternately stumbles and dances through this part of her life.
*While writing this novel, I remembered former Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila; they were instrumental in the passage of “The Violence Against Women Act,” 1994.
Excerpt from “The Prettiest Little River,” a chapter story from Lady in the Moon, A Novel in Stories:
“Will Lindstrom, at age eighty-five, had found a small campground next to Pine River, discovered while returning home from Federal Dam on Leech Lake. There it was—that beautiful river connecting lakes from north of Backus, gurgling through Ding Pot Swamp, hooking up with Norway Lake, becoming a long river again, rushing over the dam, traveling to the Whitefish chain, and purling on down to meet the Mississippi River. Groves of trees, pines, acres of fields, and dozens of lakes just around the bends of the prettiest little river shimmering in the sunlight. At nightfall, Will and Emily sat next to the campfire with all those stars overhead—like quiet company winking down at them. Once in a while, they’d hear the wailing yodel of a loon. And nearly every evening, a black lab from town trotted over to sit down next to them, happy to be petted, smiling, eyes closed, his damp snout reflecting the fire’s glow.
“ ‘Now I ask you, Emily,’ Will said each time the flames died down or the sun rose to burn off an early morning haze, ‘what more could a fella want out of life?’ ”
“Carrying her own psychic wounds with a feisty grace, Szarke’s Callie Lindstrom expresses remarkable empathy and insight in telling the stories of troubled others in her life. This beautifully detailed, soulful work is a touch gritty and a touch angry over insensitivity and unfairness in the world it describes. And yet there is as well an underlying love for people and place in these stories, and a sort of joy emergent through the depth and honesty in Szarke’s telling of them.” —Joe Paddock, poet, oral historian, author of Circle of Stones
“Of all the writers I know, few possess more discipline and commitment to the craft than Connie Szarke. That dedication is apparent in all of her writing but especially so in her delicately drawn characters. She obviously loves her main character, Callie, now grown up since Delicate Armor, and you’ll love her too.” —Stephen Wilbers, author, columnist, and writing instructor
Keyword data: road trip, hunter’s moon, dogs in books, domestic abuse, literary fiction, coming of age books, WW II, Minnesota, women’s issues, novel in stories, cemeteries, trilogy, wildlife.