Inukshuk by Gregory Spatz

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Synopsis

“An elaborate tale of family and the paths people take to understanding.” —Seattle Times

“[This] mix of well-researched history and contemporary fiction makes for a fine, sad read.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Hauntingly honest and emotionally resonant.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Gregory Spatz’s prose is as clean and sparkling as a new fall of snow.” —JANET FITCH, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black

“At its heart Inukshuk is about family. But Spatz has transfigured this beautifully told, wise story with history and myth, poetry and magic into something rarer, stranger and altogether amazing. A book that points unerringly true north.” —KAREN JOY FOWLER, author of The Jane Austen Book Club and Wit’s End

John Franklin has moved his fifteen-year-old son to the remote northern Canadian town of Houndstitch to make a new life together after his wife, Thomas’ mother, left them. Mourning her disappearance, John, a high school English teacher, writes poetry and escapes into an affair, while Thomas withdraws into a fantasy recreation of the infamous Victorian-era arctic expedition led by British explorer Sir John Franklin. With teenage bravado, Thomas gives himself scurvy so that he can sympathize with the characters in the film of his mind—and is almost lost himself.

While told over the course of only a few days, this gripping tale slips through time, powerfully evoking a modern family in distress and the legendary "Franklin's Lost Expedition" crew’s descent into despair, madness, and cannibalism aboard the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror on the Arctic tundra.

Gregory Spatz is the author of the novels Inukshuk, Fiddler’s Dream, and No One But Us, and the short fiction collections Wonderful Tricks and Half as Happy. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Washington State Book Award, he teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane and plays the fiddle and tours with Mighty Squirrel and the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band John Reischman and The Jaybirds.
 

About Gregory Spatz

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Gregory Spatz is the author of the novels Inukshuk, Fiddler's Dream, and No One But Us, and the short fiction collections Wonderful Tricks and Half as Happy (forthcoming from Engine Books in 2013). He has also written for the Oxford American and Poets and Writers and his stories have appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker. He is the recipient of a Washington State Book Award, Spokane Arts Commission Individual Artist of the Year Award, and National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he teaches in the MFA program at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. When he's not writing or teaching, Spatz plays fiddle and tours with Mighty Squirrel and the internationally acclaimed bluegrass band John Reischman and The Jaybirds.
 
Published June 19, 2012 by Bellevue Literary Press. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Inukshuk

Publishers Weekly

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Meanwhile, Thomas—a 15 year old with "a remote, demented stare, stiff-legged pirate-boy walk, [and] perennial sniffling—" obsesses over Sir John Franklin's doomed early 19th-century bid for the Northwest Passage, going so far as to induce scurvy in himself.

Jun 25 2012 | Read Full Review of Inukshuk

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