Stray Voltage by Eugenie Doyle

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Synopsis

Ian Daley lives with his father, mother, and older brother on a dairy farm in northern Vermont. Times are hard for small farmers and they only get harder when a winter ice storm brings down the power lines and stray voltage gets loose on the farm, randomly shocking humans and animals alike, putting the cows off their milking. Then, one day, Ian's Mom leaves. Ian doesn't know where she's gone or for how long. Ian's dad, always gruff and non-communicative, becomes morose, while his brother checks out. Ian's loneliness grows and grows as he struggles with his mother's abandonment, his own divided loyalties, and his evolving sense of self.
Eugenie Doyle's compelling debut novel lovingly portrays life on a small farm, celebrating its inherent vales and revealing its stark beauty.
 

About Eugenie Doyle

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Eugenie Doyleis a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program. She has published short stories for adults in various literary journals. She, her husband, twin sons, and daughter grow hay, raspberries, strawberries, and garlic on their 280-acre farm. Eugenie Doyle is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program. She has published short stories for adults in various literary journals. Six months of the year, she, her husband, her twin sons, and her daughter farm 140 acres, growing mostly hay but also raspberries, strawberries, and garlic. She writes for six months a year, and farms the other six months. Ms. Doyle presents life on a small farm clearly and compellingly, revealing its inherent beauty and worth. Stray Voltage was her highly acclaimed first novel.
 
Published September 1, 2002 by Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press. 136 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As the uncontrolled electricity sickens the cows and imperils the farm, Ian also begins to lose control as he reaches out to his absent parents with mounting desperation.

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Publishers Weekly

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For a year, Ian's farm has been blighted by stray voltage, which causes the cows' health to suffer, Ian's family to grow anxious ("Since the start of the stray voltage problem, bad days popped up like beads of sweat, like pimples on Ray's face"), and finally drives Ian's father to a desperate act.

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