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To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts: Stories Paperback – March 1, 2017
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Winner - 4th Annual Phillip H. McMath Book Award
2017 Silver Award Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards for Short Stories
In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.
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"The stories center on the complexity of family relationships with such empathy and humanity that novelist Steve Yarbrough called the book 'nothing short of magnificent.' ... Summie grounds readers in reality just as they become lost in her beautiful prose.... To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts does not shy from life s hardest moments, but its sorrow is not gratuitous. Summie is a writer who approaches life as a whole, both good and bad, rooted in history and place, and her elegant prose shines in this collection." --Chapter 16.org
"It's been a long time since I read a collection of stories that amazed me from cover to cover, but that's what Caitlin Summie's To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts did. With the grace and elegance of a master, Summie lays bare our vulnerabilities and desires and hopes in equal measure. The result is one stunning story after another, each as lovely and heartfelt as the one before. If you're a fan of Grace Paley or Ann Beattie or Tobias Wolfe, you ll surely find something to love in these pages." --Peter Geye, author of Wintering
About the Author
- Publisher : Fomite (March 1, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 218 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1944388060
- ISBN-13 : 978-1944388065
- Item Weight : 10.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.55 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #977,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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I wish this collection lasted longer, because the stories in this collection are some of the most beautifully written I’ve ever read. Not every author has the gift of reaching into human beings, pulling out all the parts that make us whole and then creating characters that you swear are real. These are flawed beings, struggling with different memories, fighting fears, curious, questioning, broken, dying and every emotion is raw, genuine. Every thought and feeling is intrinsically characteristic of human behavior. They have misplaced anger, are sometimes selfish, lonely, some are broken having only a ghost of a memory of their loved one, others are furious with their family and the many ways they’ve failed them. There have been accidents that altered the course of lives, one wheelchair bound and determined to run from the noise of it all, in the middle of nature not kind to wheelchairs. Another is dying in bed, cared for by his adult granddaughter in the story Fish Eyes In Moonlight, a title I absolutely adore. “My mind was the same, my soul was the same soul, but my body was a body I did not know.” I felt I was dying with him, slowly crawling to a final farewell, as this thing will one day happen to us all, the curling in, dissipating and yet the mind still violently alive, not quite ready to go and yet too tired to cling. He, for a while, becomes the child they wanted, in a strange sad way. It was a tender story, powerful.
In Geographies of the Heart, two sisters experience the withering away of their loved one that puts a strain on their bond. As Sarah fumes, Glennie inexplicable absents herself and all she can see is her fury merged with grief. All the ‘should have beens’, all the expectation Sarah feels, but the things waiting to be said on her tongue have their hooks in the past. One wonders just what really bothers Sarah about Glennie’s abandonment. The angrier she gets, understanding dawns.
The first story, Tags is about children whose fathers are lost to war one way or another. From the moment I tucked into the book, I was catching my breath and aching. Jimmy has his dad’s dog tags and a habit of rubbing them back and forth. “That’s how I remember those days; Jimmy and me sitting on the curb, tired of marbles, tired of tin, him with that sound of his father, and me with nothing of mine but his name.” There went my heart, this author plays with your emotions, because it seems so real. Because, I know, somewhere it is real for someone.
This is a collection that will reel you in.On the surface, it doesn’t seem as if anything enormous is happening, but it’s the quiet moments that murdered me. It’s the characters confronting their pain, struggles, hopes that had me enraptured. For a while, I lived in the emotional state of these characters, I think we all do at some point, if we’re alive to the crawl and claw of life. Each story moved me for different reasons, in many short story collections not every story resonates with me, but in To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts, they all did. I truly hope that Caitlin Hamilton Summie is already working on something new, because she has made a fan of me! Read it- beautiful! This review is from my blog, I absolutely loved it. https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/
I was expecting a somber examination of midwestern people and their lives, but I didn’t expect the dazzling feeling of inhabiting other lives, and understanding them at their deepest level. The overall experience is one of emotional catharsis, and a profound and satisfying warmth.
This writer takes you by the hand and says: “Look, here. This. This matters.” It does, and I am grateful to have traveled through these stories. You will love this collection, and I highly recommend it.
"Fish Eyes In Moonlight" was my personal favorite of the collection, a monologue from the point of view of an old man facing mortality, counting up his losses, mistakes, and moments of redemption. But all the stories have a similar yearning for the moments of harmony that occasionally -- but only occasionally -- counterbalance our stubbornness and failing. A fine collection that will leave you touched.