How to describe this lovely story? Briefly, a beloved opinion columnist at a small town Minnesota newspaper has had a stroke. She's in a coma, probably one from which she'll never recover, and in the meantime, the editor of the paper has decided to reprint choice columns spanning her 5 decade long career, and some choice responses to her columns. One of those responses earned her the name she took in stride with the good humor she displayed throughout her entire life, as the writer called her a radical rag, because of her liberal leanings in her musings. The editor's teenage son spends many afternoons at the paper helping sort through the many articles, picking and choosing which ones should make the paper and we get to read everything from Haze's (the radical hag herself) very sadly brief 3 year marriage, she lost him to a massive heart attack, but it's obvious that the marriage was absolutely drenched in love, to her stance on abortion, all the way up to the modern day election. Maybe or maybe not luckily, she didn't have to see the outcome of that disaster. One of my favorite quotes from the book is "By bringing us into their own world, they bring us into the whole world," and I think that's the mark of a truly good columnist. She managed to relate whatever her subject was about, first to her own little corner of the world before expanding into a seemingly huge subject.
This book is extraordinary. It covers so many different people's lives but it shows how Haze, a truly radical hag, said with all the love a heart can hold, brought so many people together through her decades long writing career. Landvik has managed to truly bring this character off the page and make her larger than life, to the point where she seems more than just a fictional character. From heartbreak to adolescent awakening with a few delicious recipes thrown in, this book is a wonderland of written emotions. It's one of my favorite stories so far in 2019 and I'm sure it's going to stick with me for a good long while.