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The Lighthouse Road: A Novel Hardcover – October 2, 2012
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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 Minnesotain a lumberjack camp and a small town and aboard a skiff riding the waves of Lake Superiorto crackling, thundering life. Handled less skillfully, Geye's emphasis on one primary trait in his characterstheir intense longing for somewhere to belong and, at the same time, somewhere to be freemight 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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THIS WRITER CAPTURES THE INNER EMOTIONS OF HIS CHARACTERS, WITHOUT COMPRIMISING THEIR STORY. CAPTIVATING STORY LINE. CAN NOT WAIT FOR HIS NEXT BOOK!!!!Published 3 days ago by nan
This is my second book from this author. I really like the way that he melds two story lines, his richness of detail of life on the Minnesota frontier in the early twentieth... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Ian Baines
I love the way this author writes.I read his second book before this one.I am now going to read his newest.Published 1 month ago by bookaddict44
If you are looking for a feel good novel with an upbeat story of redemption, this is not the book. Geye's character's are impeded by a lack of love and an absence of hope and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by rodeogirl
As a Duluth, Minnesota native living Connecticut, I was initially thrilled to find this book and read about my home state from the alternating points of view of characters in the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Reading Nerd
An interesting read. Not a book I would haven choosen had it not been recommended for me by overdrive. Thankful for the recommendationPublished 6 months ago by Lisa
This book caught my eye with the Norwegian emigrant characters and Norway/Michigan/Minnesota settings. Really enjoyed the story and writing style.Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
At first I wasn't sure I would stay with this book. The characters weren't developing and the story was simple but lacking grace. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jill G Katz