Life in a Northern Town meets Steinbeck

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Laurentian Divide
By Sarah Stonich Unniversity of Minnesota Press
Publication date 9/18/2018

Bitter winters are nothing new in Hatchet Inlet, hard up against the ridge of the Laurentian Divide, but the advent of spring can’t thaw the community’s collective grief, lingering since a senseless tragedy the previous fall. What is different this year is what’s missing: Rauri Paar, the last private landowner in the Reserve, whose annual emergence from his remote iced-in islands marks the beginning of spring and the promise of a kinder season.

The town’s residents gather at the local diner and, amid talk of spring weather, the latest gossip, roadkill, and the daily special, take bets on when Rauri will appear—or imagine what happened to him during the long and brutal winter. Retired union miner and widower Alpo Lahti is about to wed the diner’s charming and lively waitress, Sissy Pavola, but, with Rauri still unaccounted for, celebration seems premature. Alpo’s son Pete struggles to find his straight and narrow, then struggles to stay on it, and even Sissy might be having second thoughts.

What I liked;
Ugh; this is the most mundane synopsis, and I have no idea why the publisher is trying to push this as a romance novel, or even a rom com. They are a University the very least state that her prose is much like Steinbeck who states much about the human condition ; who took a town and analyized what made it tick and move and function.

“We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the neverending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly respawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Sarah Stonich took one character in the wilds of Minnesota; one that had become the legend of the town, but he was a significant piece of the function of the town; they measured their own lives by how Rauri lived off his land and did not need material things; he had the nature and the animals to get him through . He didn't kill he held value to life and all that lived in his preserve. Each member of that town was proud of him sticking to his own sensibilities, his own code it reafifrmed their own measure of success, and that love and friendship was so much more important than material possesions. While Rauri was out in his preserve, living to his own device their world did not need to be measured by Wall Street . Everyone had a Rauri fable, everyone had been touched by his thoughts and actions. The descriptions and characters were rich , and almost poetic.

Why it was not a five.
It was almost that her editor told her to be more comercial, and that is why the ending Rauri returned the way he did. I did not like the ending , it was like ripping the bandaid off and the lie that it wouldn't hurt, or the fact there is no Santa Claus. Rauri was what was pure and untamed , and with the end of that era, I shut the book with a sigh.
I was very happy to get the finished copy of Laurentian Divide I thank Bookish First and Unniversity of Minnesota Press for the opportunity to read this author, I never read another writer that reminded me why I liked Cannery Row. She should continue to be brave and write like that.