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A Father and an Island: Reflections on Loss Paperback – October 17, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Lewis-Clark Press / Sandhills Press (October 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091101599X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911015997
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,070,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Merry Lee Hooks on January 29, 2009
O. Alan Weltzein takes the reader to the family cabin on Camano Island as witnesses to changes in the lives, the cabin and the island as one generation succeeds another. I felt I had lived parts of this story, that this tender and beautiful memoir had echoes in my own life. I hope many generations of Weltzeins will earn again and hold onto this cabin. The book has it's full measure of serious discussion peppered with humor and charming descriptions of a loving, talented, creative and determined family. I highly recommend A Father and an Island. Meander along it's beaches and collect poignant parallels with your own life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald V. Loge on January 29, 2009
Through the writing of A Father and an Island, the author comes to understand the meaning of a place and a landscape that defined his youth and his mature self and the loss of his father whose love and guidance also created the landscapes of his psyche and corpus. With prose celebrating the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, he draws the reader into the bliss of summers at a beach cabin before suburbia and sculpture parks encroached on family solitude. A father's provision of a small paradise for his family, in time, changed, aged and eroded as did his body when ALS layed waste his neuromuscular web. The reader follows the path from idyll to illness as Weltzien, at first, celebrates place and person, then mourns ensuing mortal changes. Drawing on writing of E. B. White, Walt Whitman and Dylan Thomas, Weltzien illuminates the universality and timelessness of these themes. Reading this tender paean brings to the surface those memories we all have of youth, naivete, the emergence of adulthood, parenthood, and, finally, the loss through death of those who brought us here. It is, after all, also our story that we read as Weltzien narrates his own. Through his father's example and Weltzein's own successes and shortfalls as a father himself, he has discovered a truth, namely, that in parenting, we pass on experiences, traits and values, and our children select only those they can use in their times. Our sons and daughters are not our image but of our image. This is a volume to reflect upon long after the pages end.
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I haven't spent much time in the Pacific NW. I live on the dry east side of the Sierra Nevada, and my own childhood summers played out on the flat and scrubby South Jersey shore. But after reading A Father and an Island I felt as if I had inhabited this cedar-shaded mountain-bordered patch of Puget Sound almost as much as the author and three generations of his family. Storytellers say that places are containers for stories, and Camano Island reveals layer upon layer of natural and human history, woven with a cunning design. Even the First Peoples who lived and fished here longer than we can imagine cycle back into the story as they contest a new state park to be built on the site of an old resort, itself built over an ancient burial ground (late-breaking news -- it got built). Anyone with roots in this area, and anyone who spent their youth at a family summer place and who has lost or is losing a father and has kids who may or may not be interested in continuing the tradition, will leave these pages both thoughtfully and emotionally touched.
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This book is for anyone who has had the privilege of childhood summers spent in a rustic cabin by the sea, a river, lake or nestled within the trees. Weltzien's book takes you along on his journey back through younger, simpler days spent on Camano Island, Washington. You can't help but reminisce and laugh about your own childhood and those who shared the ride with you. At its heart this is a warm, funny and deeply moving memoir of a father and a son traveling through life's transitions together. Weltzien writes with honesty and humility as he explores who he is apart from his history and the roles he has played as a son and father. This is all interwoven into experiences had at an island hideaway that has since been discovered and significantly altered by its now surburban character. Weltzien reunites readers with the innocence and spontaneous joy of youth and reminds us to cherish solitude, simplicity, natural wonders and each and every day spent with those you love.
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