By W. D. Wetherell
Winner of the 2004 Michigan Literary Fiction Award for novelA haunting tale of the facility of demise, the discomfort of loss, and the opportunity of hope."Gripping, damning, and transfixing."---Entertainment Weekly" . . . possesses a time-bending gravity. . . . [A] small vintage of swish language and earned emotion."---San Francisco Chronicle". . . a superbly written novel of battle and the wrenching grief and unanswerable questions it leaves in its wake. . . . A Century of November is filled with designated, startling imagery and stylish, richly poetic description---Wetherell turns out surely incapable of writing a lazy sentence---and this final component to the unconventional is as surreal, hypnotic and harrowing as any literature in contemporary reminiscence. the whole lot, in truth, is a jewel, an unforgettable old novel that Wetherell has conscientiously (and artfully) seeded with a great deal of modern resonance." ---Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)"A poignant, probing tale. . . . Wetherell's prose and personality writing are unflinching . . . [and his] tackle a parent's discomfort is deeply moving."---Publishers Weekly "A well timed reminder of the devastation of mortal strive against. . . ."---Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Softer wails, coming quicker, with gagging intakes of breath. He put his mouth to the door. " he said dumbly. " Stupid of him. Insane. Across the hallway another woman cried, this one in coughs and hiccoughs that made him think of a little girl whose crying had gone on so long it had taken on a life independent of the throat it came from. He pushed against her door, knowing it would be locked, but feeling the need to place his hand on the sound, quiet it, make it go still. Further down the corridor, where it turned left and headed for the boat deck stairs, the sound was louder.
The sec]8 ond officer, a decent man, told me about it yesterday, and I thought I might go there and find an atlas. A cramped, musty old place used mostly for storage. Wine bottles, folded deck chairs, a few dusty books. Found my atlas, was looking through it trying to locate a map of Belgium, when the door opened and into the room walked the quiet woman from dinner, Susan Marshall, come to search the maps, too. We talked, surprisingly easily. She has her story ready, has obviously told it many times.
Past Thunder Bay, running along the lake's edge, they were literally stopped in their tracks, and no progress was possible until another, more powerful locomotive was added to the front. Thirty years ago, a young man 23 running away from home, heading west for the first time, he hadn't felt free until this very spot, the long northern shore of Superior, the shield, with its majesty, loneliness, expanse. Now here he was coming back east again-and here the lake was, spinning in fury, telling him not to.