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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 75/100: The Long-Shining Waters by Danielle Sosin

The Long-Shining Waters - Danielle Sosin

Danielle Sosin used to live down the hall from me, so I always meant to read this book. In 2013, it was chosen as the "One Book South Dakota" and I STILL didn't get on the bandwagon, but I finally got around to it two years late.

The book follows three stories taking place in three different time periods on Lake Superior: a Native American story in the 1600s, a pioneer story in the 1800s, and a modern (year 2000) story. Sosin pays a great deal of attention to the quiet moments in life and the writing is often beautiful. The book strikes a good balance between the three stories so that it is never too jarring to move from one to the next. I "enjoyed" the modern story most because it required the least work -- I had lived in the area around that time, and my best friend and I did a "circle tour" around the Great Lakes very similar to the one Nora takes. But I think the pioneer story was the one that will most stick with me, as it was incredibly haunting and I just kept hoping it would end differently than it did.

My biggest gripe about this book was its ending -- or lack thereof. I'm used to literary fiction being fairly open-ended and I'm more comfortable with ambiguous endings than most people are (probably because I'm guilty of writing them.) But I just felt that these three stories were TOO unresolved, especially the Native American storyline. I also wondered whether someone who did not have a personal connection with Lake Superior would find this book as evocative as a "local" -- although the descriptions are so vivid that a reader could probably finish feeling as she had lived there, too.

Man, I miss Duluth.