“Cormorant Lake has been called fantastical. But to me it reads as very real. It tells a story of generations of women who live without men. Parenting, husbanding, repairing their homes, caring for the sick and weak. Desiring. Women who haunt each other for what they’ve done and failed to do. Women who hurt their mothers, their children, their own minds and bodies, their friends. Women who try to hold their societies together by themselves. This darkly compelling debut mirrors a woman’s nightmares, and equally, her realities.” —Katherine Forbes Riley, author of The Bobcat, longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize
Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize
On a cold November night, Evelyn Van Pelt steals her roommate’s two underfed and neglected little girls from their beds and drives to the northwestern hometown she fled fourteen years earlier—Cormorant Lake. There, hidden in the mountains and woods, dense with fog and the cold of winter, Evelyn grapples with the guilt of what she’s done, and as she attempts to reconcile her wild independence with the responsibilities of parenthood, she reconnects with the two women who raised her—her foster mother, Nan, and her biological mother, Jubilee. But by coming home, she has set in motion a series of events that will revive the decades-old tragedy that haunts Cormorant Lake—and lead her to confront the high cost of protecting her secret.
At once fantastical and deeply rooted in the natural world, Faith Merino’s deeply affecting and spirited debut novel explores the shape of family, the enduring bonds of friendship, and the imperfections of motherhood—messy and beautiful, instinctive and learned, temporal but permanently life-altering.
On the day before his twenty-first wedding anniversary, David Sullinger buried an ax in his wife’s skull. Now, eight jurors must retire to the deliberation room and decide whether David committed premeditated murder—or whether he was a battered spouse who killed his wife in self-defense.
Told from the perspective of over a dozen participants in a murder trial, We, the Jury examines how public perception can mask the ghastliest nightmares. As the jurors stagger toward a verdict, they must sift through contradictory testimony from the Sullingers’ children, who disagree on which parent was Satan; sort out conflicting allegations of severe physical abuse, adultery, and incest; and overcome personal animosities and biases that threaten a fair and just verdict. Ultimately, the central figures in We, the Jury must navigate the blurred boundaries between bias and objectivity, fiction and truth.
In a radical departure from her urban life, Ann Turner buys a piece of remote Vermont land and sets up a tent home in deep forest. She’s trying to escape an unending string of personal disasters in Boston; more, she desperately wants to leave behind a world she sees as increasingly defined by consumerism, hypocrisy, and division.
As she writes in her journal, “There’s got to be a more honest, less divided way to live.”
She soon learns she was mistaken in thinking a kindly Mother Earth would grant her wisdom and serenity in her new home. The forest confronts her with unanticipated dangers, aching loneliness, harsh weather, instinctive fears, and unsettling encounters with wild animals. It’s beautiful, yes, but life in the woods is never easy. When necessity requires her to start work as a farmhand, she quickly realizes that she held similarly childish illusions about small farms. Under the stern tutelage of Diz Brassard, the farm’s sixty-year-old matriarch, and the gentler guidance of Earnest Kelley, an Oneida Indian friend of the Brassards, she discovers what hard work really means. Ann faces her predicament with determination, but there’s a lot to learn—about the Brassard family, about dairy farming, and about herself. If she is to succeed in her new life, she must become as tough and resilient as the rural community she lives in. She must also learn to accept love—even if it arrives in the most unexpected forms.
On Brassard’s Farm is a tale of personal struggle, sweeping transformation, and romantic love. Author Daniel Hecht tells of Ann Turner’s quest for a better life with unsparing honesty and gentle humor. Through its portrayal of the unrelenting labor and harsh pragmatism of farming, On Brassard’s Farm reveals the deep durability of rural life and offers a much-needed affirmation in a changing and uncertain world.