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The Lake, the River & the Other Lake: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 3, 2005

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The town of Weneshkeen, Mich., on Lake Michigan's Gold Coast, may be little, but a heck of a lot goes on there. This smart, punchy first novel is a smalltown soap opera, burning and churning through the summer of 2001. Amick develops a group of disparate characters, each one with a dilemma to solve or an axe to grind, and then passes the story line from one to the next in a game of literary tag. The novel's primary force is Roger Drinkwater, a no-nonsense Ojibwe Indian who served in Vietnam and coaches the local high school swim team. The calm of his peaceful lakeside home has been shattered by screeching jet skis driven by obnoxious young Fudgies (slang for tourists), and he vows to use his military training to try and silence the mechanized nuisance. Amick peppers his plot with other vexed individuals, including a recently retired minister grappling with an Internet porn addiction and a bigoted orchard owner whose son and daughter betray him by choosing foreign mates. At the start, the novel feels a bit quaint, but it quickly develops a sharp edge. Bitterly comic and surprisingly meaty, this roiling tale of passion, anger, regret and lust is dark fun for the Garrison Keillor demographic. 7-city author tour. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Weneshkeen, MI, a small town on a small lake, appears simple and quiet on the surface. But Amick peels back the picture-postcard serenity with a set of loosely connected stories that are often funny and always touching. Most are based on the conflict between the year-round residents and the summer people (called fudgies because of the quantities of the candy they buy at the various shops). Roger Drinkwater is an Ojibwe who served in Vietnam and now coaches the high school swim team. Tired of the noisy jet skis that make his daily swim difficult and dangerous, he enters a one-man crusade to sabotage them. Other stories include a farmer whose son marries a migrant worker and has to face his own feelings of racism, a teen fudgie who begins dating the summer beauty queen and finds that she may be more trouble then she's worth, and a businessman who starts a rumor that David Letterman is vacationing in the town to help sell his idea of Sumac Lemonade. The narrative is driven by the strength of the well-rounded, memorable, and likable characters. The down-home humor will remind readers of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon tales (Viking), but Amick moves beyond the puns here and there to show the influence of T. C. Boyle. Darkly funny and bitterly poignant, this first novel is a great read for fans of quirky, well-wrought fiction.–Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375423508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375423505
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,248,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By DNA on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
From the moment this book crossed my desk at the library where I work, I couldn't put it down. That's not to say it's heavy on plot. It's the characters that keep you reading and I'm always a sucker for interesting character development. My favorite person in the book is definitely Roger Drinkwater, a Native American/Vietnam Vet/swim coach/beef jerky maker who has a bit of a problem with jet skis. It was nice to live through him vicariously as he carried out his vendetta in some explosive ways.

As you read the book (and you should definitely pick up a copy), get yourself some fudge and surf over to [...] where you can listen to the soundtrack for this book, the Weneshkeen Jukebox.

It's a great summer read. I hate saying this about a book, but I wish there was a sequel or a TV series made out of this one. I miss the characters already.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Holly TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When this book arrived, I was so enthused I put it at the top of my reading stack (which is enormous). When I began reading, I was immediately pulled into the story and fell in love with the writing. I'm from the Midwest and have spent some time in Michigan and was really enjoying the way the author pulled in stories of the Native American, the local residents, the summer visitors and the fun reference to the tourists as "fudgies". The writing is great and I really thought I had stumbled across a wonderful read and was having a hard time putting the book down.

Then, I reached the 2/3 mark in the book and my feelings drastically changed. Anyone who thought they were getting a gentle, Mitford series book knew early on that that wasn't going to be how this one worked out which is just fine. I was assuming it would have more of an edge and some crude references along the lines of Garrison Keillor (who seemes fascinated with the thoughts of 12-year-old boys regarding body parts), but this book came as a shock. While there had been some very graphic sex scenes in the book early on that I didn't particularly care for it crossed the line into repulsive at this point. If I took direct quotes from the book, I doubt Amazon would allow this review to be published without removing the quotes. Very, very graphic descriptions of internet pornography pictures/sites are covered in minute detail. A 60 + year old minister toys with pedophelia and his thoughts and actions leave nothing to your imagination. It only gets worse from there with one final scene that almost made my physically ill. Nothing humorous here, just dark and repulsive. I have a difficult time with this book being labeled for high school age kids. I sure wouldn't want my 14-year-old daughter reading this !
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey W. Landon on July 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Steve Amick is a wonderful writer and his book deserves a world of readers. He juggles many stories here; in that sense, this is an old-fashioned book, filled with subplots, minor characters, and the kind of tales you might hear on front porches in summer. All the people here feel alive, and his teenagers, in particular, are well-drawn: funny, sad, and filled with the sort of longing that never goes away.

"The Lake, the River & the Other Lake" is fun to read, breezy and dense with one-liners worth remembering, and the twin triumphs of this novel are the voice, and the multi-layered plot. It moves quickly, and Mr. Amick obviously cares about these people, all of them, with all their quirks and tiny triumphs and struggles.

It's the best book I've read in a long, long time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By upinmichigan.org on April 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Steve Amick, The Lake, The River & the Other Lake (Pantheon, 2005)

reviewed by A. J. Gretz

Steve Amick's first novel is a reflection of the characters contained within - unusual, thoughtful, and, though flawed, incredibly likeable. The Lake, The River & the Other Lake is the story of one summer in a tiny Northern-Michigan town, and the all-too familiar sense of connection among its various inhabitants. The book revolves around a dozen or so characters that Amick manages to flesh out nicely, creating memorable and surprisingly deep moments of wit and retrospect. This is all the more impressive since many of their surface-level quirks - be it a nervous young billionaire, disgruntled Indian or nymphomaniac teenager - seem so potentially one-dimensional. However, as the novel progresses they each come alive in the classically Midwestern struggle to overcome the confines of a small-town identity, while still "doing the right thing."

Amick manages to effectively capture the laid back, disposable feeling of summer with his understated writing style. The writing is warm and rich with detail without becoming overbearing, making Weneshkeen an easy read with wide appeal. However, the prose is consistently impressive, as Amick seems to have a knack for making the small details count. The opening is particularly memorable, as Amick writes "there was a heavenly time, a sliver-thin window of peace that Roger Drinkwater cherished ever year on Meenigeesis - those early days when the water warmed just enough for him to bear but all others steered clear and he could swim in peace and hear nothing but the water and his breath and the birds and the distant road: the way it had once been on this lake.
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