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, a Gypsy family from the Warsaw Ghetto, a Vietnam Veteran, and several individuals in Paris during the World War II Nazi occupation. 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 “Food for the Spirit,” chapter 5 from Lady in the Moon, A Novel in Stories:
Myriad stories tell of canines saving peoples’ lives by barking non-stop in the middle of the night when a fire breaks out or an intruder breaks in. Dogs protect children, tuck in babies, and look out for their masters. They watch over strangers in distress, such as the dog who helped to keep alive the imprisoned Saint Roch, a 14th century ascetic, by bringing him scraps of bread each morning.
For Callie, it wasn’t nourishment for the body that was meted out by a certain farm dog who appeared in a country cemetery one afternoon, but food for a fractured spirit.
“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.