- Hardcover: 257 Pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 1, 2016)
Many may dream of a simpler life in the north woods, far away from the complications of the modern world. But in her absorbing and uncompromising second novel, North of Here (Lake Union; March 1, 2016), Laurel Saville reveals the dark side of such a life for four young people living in the Adirondack Mountains. This story of misguided decisions, a dangerous back-to-nature cult, and the universal search for meaning and love intertwines these troubled lives into a riveting blend of penetrating love story and persuasive page-turner. Saville, author of the #1 Kindle bestseller Henry and Rachel, once again taps her astute narrative powers in a tale of tragedy, survival, and love.
At the heart of the drama are four unforgettable, strikingly-drawn characters:
- Miranda: A young “heiress” who discovers that the mountain property she has inherited is encumbered by her father’s debts and misdealing.
- Dix: A self-assured “mountain man” who is really an educated, financially secure son of two accomplished professionals.
- Darius: A preppy trust fund refugee who turns his own quest for meaning into a dangerous back-to-nature cult bent on healing lost souls
- Sally: A brassy, street-smart social worker who, despite being perpetually unlucky in love, ultimately has the foresight to see the perils of loving Darius.
As this masterful novel unfolds, these four will become inextricably entwined in troubles that far exceed simple crimes of the heart.
Buy, read, and discuss North of Here
Laurel Saville is the award-winning author of the memoir Unraveling Anne, the novel Henry and Rachel, and the four-part short story “How Much Living Can You Buy,” as well as numerous essays, short stories, and articles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College.
Once again, Laurel Saville applies her “poetic, lyrical voice” (Booklist) to a story that captures the complications of the lives we live—or wish to live.
Connect with Laurel
This book North of Here was my first exposure to Laurel Saville’s work, but reading her work felt like curling up in a favorite couch – her language wasn’t at all simplistic, but it was still a very comfortable narrative style.
I really liked the way the four central characters, Dix, Miranda, Sally, and Darius, had distinct voices. At first Iwas concerned the Dix/Miranda story would play out like a cheesy romance novel, but Saville made both characters so real and flawed, and then turned the trope of the rugged handyman saving the spoiled damsel on its head, which I really appreciated. Similarly, in Sally and Darius she gave us two characters who were both difficult to suss out at first – Darius seemed like a nice, if slightly misguided guy, and Sally was portrayed as a white trash bitch – but then we were shown the truth of both characters.
In any other author’s hands the events in this novel – loss, death, depression, wanderlust, soul-searching, etc., would have been a story full of cliches and annoyances, something akin to old-school soap operas, and not in a good way.
Thankfully, Saville is incredibly talented. The Booklist quote above refers to her lyrical voice, and I have to agree. Saville’s storytelling never feels redundant, never slips into cliches or overly dramatic moments. Instead it is a gentle novel full of stark sadness and incredible, naked truth.
It is that truthfulness that makes North of Here so gripping. The characters are completely vivid, and the book itself sings.
Goes well with homemade pie made with wild-picked berries, and a mug of strong coffee.
Tuesday, March 1st: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Wednesday, March 2nd: Bibliotica
Thursday, March 3rd: Just Commonly
Monday, March 7th: Reading is My Superpower
Tuesday, March 8th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, March 9th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Thursday, March 10th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, March 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Tuesday, March 15th: Book Dilettante
Wednesday, March 16th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, March 17th: FictionZeal
Friday, March 18th: My Book Retreat
Monday, March 21st: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Tuesday, March 22nd: Puddletown Reviews
Tuesday, March 22nd: A Holland Reads
Wednesday, March 23rd: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, March 24th: Why Girls Are Weird
Friday, March 25th: Walking with Nora
Monday, March 28th: Life is Story
Tuesday, March 29th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, March 30th: A Bookish Affair