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The Lighthouse Road: A Novel Hardcover – October 2, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Unbridled Books (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609530845
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609530846
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Writing with the same austere beauty as the wilderness surrounding the frontier town of Gunflint, Minnesota, Geye powerfully portrays a family’s struggles. A newly arrived Norwegian immigrant discovers her family has fallen apart, forcing her to find her own way. Her son Odd’s achingly earnest love for the wrong woman means he faces agonizingly difficult choices for his own family. Their stories, spanning the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, are intertwined, unfolding not in chronological order but rather shuttling back and forth between centuries. In his second novel, Geye brings the wilderness of northern Minnesota—in a lumberjack camp and a small town and aboard a skiff riding the waves of Lake Superior—to crackling, thundering life. Handled less skillfully, Geye’s emphasis on one primary trait in his characters—their intense longing for somewhere to belong and, at the same time, somewhere to be free—might come off as one-dimensional, but here the story and its people achieve remarkable emotional resonance. The echoes of the characters’ heartbreak through the generations are as haunting as the howling of the wolves on the wind. --Bridget Thoreson

Review

"Peter Geye writes with the mesmerizing power of the snowstorms that so often come howling off Lake Superior. I am in awe of how he swirls through so many years and juggles so many characters, all of them unforgettable and weighed down by secrets and regrets and desires that burn through the hoarfrost of Geye's bristling sentences." — Benjamin Percy

Geye (Safe from the Sea) returns to his familiar setting, the unforgiving landscape of northern Minnesota, and brings the plight of Norwegian immigrants vividly to life. On a cold November in 1896, a son is born to Thea Eide, a cook in a primitive logging camp. She succumbs to fever, and the boy, named Odd, is left in the care of his guardian, Hosea Grimm. Grimm delivers babies, sets broken bones, and runs an apothecary in the town of Gunflint. As a young man, Odd despairs of ever getting away from Hosea and his other enterprises, bootlegging and prostitution, but he develops a plan: build and outfit his boat so he can escape with Grimm’s daughter, Rebekah. When Rebekah announces she’s expecting their baby, Odd accelerates their plans to leave for Duluth just as winter is setting in. He is able to provide for his new family as a boat builder, but there are no happy endings here, only resilience and resolve to carry on. Odd is determined that his son will not experience a loss as he did. VERDICT With spare realism, Geye puts a fresh spin on a familiar tale, rendering a powerful portrayal of family bonds in an era long past. Highly recommended.— Library Journal

“In his second novel, Geye brings the wilderness of northern Minnesota—in a lumberjack camp and a small town and aboard a skiff riding the waves of Lake Superior—to crackling, thundering life. Handled less skillfully, Geye's emphasis on one primary trait in his characters—their intense longing for somewhere to belong and, at the same time, somewhere to be free—might come off as one-dimensional, but here the story and its people achieve remarkable emotional resonance. The echoes of the characters' heartbreak through the generations are as haunting as the howling of the wolves on the wind.”— Booklist, starred review

More About the Author

Peter Geye received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his PhD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor of Third Coast. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and continues to live there with his wife and three children. He is the author of the award winning novels, Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Spiegel on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel like gushing, letting the clichés unleash in a flood of unholy praise. Using "unleash" like that? Cliché?

This was a great book. I loved it. First, the setting is novel. As a city girl who (tragically, inevitably) lives in the desert, I found myself wide-eyed and dazzled by Peter Geye's snowy wilderness in the Midwest. Boats! Apothecaries! People named Hosea and Odd! A fish house! What's a fish house?

But it's the story, which is ultimately about survivors. People who make it. Though there is a life-threatening bear attack, I'm talking about other kinds of survival: enduring, persevering, and overcoming personal and historical legacies, the human-centric kind--crossing oceans in search of a new life, getting nursed by quacks or fleeing brothels, suffering from the weight of your lineage or lack of one. Some people go on; others do not. Some people live well; others flounder in their past. I found this book rich in such musings.

I was also jealous when I read it. I want to do this! I want to write intricate prose that sounds like a lullaby, plays in the snow, and weaves history together! Geye does that, you know! The story follows multiple historical narrative threads, and puts them all together (and it's not confusing at all). I was jealous of the complexity and the breadth of the narrative. I had a wave of anxiety when I read this book: I want to be taken seriously like people are going to take this book seriously.

But that's just me: jealous fool.

At any rate, read it. Cliché-time: it's rich, original, refreshing, riveting! I may have to do a little investigation into this fish house-business. Peter Geye, the working title of my next book is SAPPHO EATS CATFISH. Though it's been that way for a while, think of the fish-element in there as a teeny, tiny tribute to your wonderful book. Even if there are no catfish in it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. Woodland TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have mentioned in the past that I am too literal a reader for literary books but every now and then I am offered one that strikes my fancy and I take a chance. The Lighthouse Road was one of those books and I was very glad that I did decide to read it. It made me think and I am finding that more often than not I want a book that makes me think. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy fluff but one cannot live on a diet of sugary sweets alone now, can one?

This book is more about relationships and the power some people have over others than about one particular character. It starts with the immigration of a young woman from Norway to a very small town on Lake Superior. Thea Eide's story begins just as she is about to give birth to her son, Odd. She is helped in her labor by the town's doctor, Hosea Grimm and his daughter Rebekah. These four people are the main characters and their histories are told in a series of back and forth vignettes that move from the present time of the novel (the 1920s) to the character's various pasts. I know that sounds confusing and it was at first but once you get into the rhythm of the writing it all starts to make sense.

The writing is spare, much like the cold, forested landscape of Gunflint, MN, itself. Yet the reader is drawn into the lives of these four interconnected people as their souls are revealed bit by bit. Hosea is a man who is in control. Who feels he is giving people what is best for them. Rebekah is not sure of her place in the world that Hosea has created. Thea's world turned out to be nothing like she thought it would be and Odd is the only one who can make it past The Lighthouse Road to see a different life.

I was very drawn into this story; it's one of those books that haunts you for days after you put it down. It will go on my "to be read again" shelf. I'm sure that a second read will garner even more insight into these very well drawn and complex characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As in Safe from the Sea, Geye illustrates once more his talent for recreating the past without losing the immediacy of the present in a portrayal of two lives, Thea Eide, a Norwegian immigrant in Duluth, Minnesota in the 1890s and her son, Odd, in the early 1900s, his experiences equally unconventional. An icy landscape, chill air creeping into every crevice, is the setting of Thea's transition from one place to another, the limits of language further severing the interactions of a woman who finds work in the kitchen of a logging camp to survive a bitter winter, the birth of her child - a traumatic event both in origin and consequences- assisted by the local apothecary, Hosea Grim and his helper, Rebekah. Thea delivers a son, Odd, who becomes a rugged and determined individual, albeit prematurely orphaned, developing a complicated relationship with Grim as a father figure and true friendship with boyhood friend, Daniel Riverfish. Over time, Odd discovers that he has a natural affinity for the sea and a skill at hand-crafting boats of his own design

Adapting to life's challenges with surprising grace, Odd's independent nature all but assures his choice of a romantic relationship with an inappropriate woman, one that delivers both love and heartbreak in equal measure, his deepest joy the raising of a son, Harald, thriving in the glow of his father's affection. Threat of the unexpected permeates The Lighthouse Road, the consequences of the arbitrary gathering of individuals often at cross purposes or the casual treachery of a landscape where men, wild animals and nature coexist. In one moment, a scene of perfect harmony exists: a man and a boy ice-fishing; in the next, fate intervenes and tragedy strikes, the image erased. This author's skillful balance of such emotional precipices informs a memorable drama of unique characters excavating the uncharted territory of the human heart. Luan Gaines/2012.
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