Vestments-Midwest Connections

September 28, 2010

A remarkable debut novel!

Vestments FINAL

John Reimringer

Milkweed Editions

“In this potent debut about a wayward yet devout young priest who struggles to reconcile his faith with longings of the flesh, Reimringer has crafted a suspenseful, illuminating, and highly readable saga.
Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“‘The men of my family have always loved strong drink and a good fight,’ says John Reimringer’s narrator, a young and unsure priest trying to make sense of his St. Paul family’s two-fisted history. That he confesses this with equal parts pride and regret shows how much he has to overcome. Ribald and wry, concerned at heart with faith and forgiveness,VESTMENTS is a rich, involving debut.”
—Stewart O’Nan, author of Last Night at the Lobster and Songs for the Missing

“In this memorable, skillful novel, Reimringer writes compassionately about the tie between violence and yearning, the calls of the body and the calls of the spirit. Many writers can write well about one or the other. The gift of this writer is his rich understanding and love of both. Vestments is a wise, wide, and eloquent book.” —Erin McGraw, author of Lies of the Saints and The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard

Let me begin today, illumined by Thy light, to destroy this part of the natural man which lives in me in its entirety, the obstacle that constantly keeps me from Thy Love.

Taught this prayer as a boy by his grandfather, James Dressler recites it each time he’s tempted by earthly desires. Originally drawn to the priesthood by the mystery, purity, and sensual fabric of the Church, and by its promise of a safe harbor from his tempestuous home, James finds himself—just a few years after his ordination—attracted again to his first love, Betty García. Torn between these competing loves, and haunted by his familial heritage, James finds himself at a crossroads. Exploring age-old and yet urgently contemporary issues in the Catholic  Church, and infused throughout by a rich sense of the history and vibrant texture of St. Paul, this is an utterly honest and subtly lyrical novel. A major debut.


A former newspaper editor and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Arkansas, JOHN REIMRINGER lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, with his wife, the poet Katrina Vandenberg. VESTMENTSis his first novel.  Learn more at .

Freedom-Midwest Connections

September 19, 2010

FREEDOM 9780374158460

Jonathan Franzen

Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan
Fiction set in part in St. Paul and Minnesota / contemporary life in America

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. In charting the mistakes and joys ofFREEDOM’s characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.

Patty and Walter Berglund were the new pioneers of old St. Paul—the gentrifiers, the hands-on parents, the avant-garde of the Whole Foods generation. Patty was the ideal sort of neighbor, who could tell you where to recycle your batteries and how to get the local cops to actually do their job. She was an enviably perfect mother and the wife of Walter’s dreams. Together with Walter—environmental lawyer, commuter cyclist, total family man—she was doing her small part to build a better world.

But now, in the new millennium, the Berglunds have become a mystery. Why has their teenage son moved in with the aggressively Republican family next door? Why has Walter taken a job working with Big Coal? What exactly is Richard Katz—outré rocker and Walter’s college best friend and rival—still doing in the picture? Most of all, what has happened to Patty? Why has the bright star of Barrier Street become “a very different kind of neighbor,” an implacable Fury coming unhinged before the street’s attentive eyes?

In his first novel since The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen has given us an epic of contemporary love and marriage. Freedom comically and tragically captures the temptations and burdens of liberty: the thrills of teenage lust, the shaken compromises of middle age, the wages of suburban sprawl, the heavy weight of empire. In charting the mistakes and joys of Freedom’s characters as they struggle to learn how to live in an ever more confusing world, Franzen has produced an indelible and deeply moving portrait of our time.


Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for fiction; the novels The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion; and two collections of essays, How to Be Alone and The Discomfort Zone, all published by FSG. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.

Vermilion Drift-Midwest Connections

September 12, 2010

Cork O’Connor is back again!


William Kent Krueger

Atria Books / Simon & Schuster

“As always, Krueger’s writing couples the best of literary and commercial fiction, with intelligent, well-defined characters populating the story. Although the book contains violence, the author never makes it extraneous or graphic. He is one of those rare writers who manage to keep the suspense alive until the final page.Krueger fans will find a feast in between these covers, and for those who have yet to sample his fine and evocative writing, the book offers a complex yet completely believable plot, all tied up in words sharpened by one of the modern masters of the craft.”  — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“At the start of Krueger’s superlative 10th novel featuring Tamarack County, Minn., PI Cork O’Connor (after Heaven’s Keep), mining heir Max Cavanagh hires Cork to trace his missing sister, Lauren, founder of an artists’ retreat–and to try to identify the sender of threatening letters to various people connected with Vermilion One, a Cavanaugh family mine, which the U.S. Department of Energy is considering for long-term nuclear waste storage. When Cork and a mine official descend into Vermilion One, they discover six bodies, five of them skeletal, which may be connected with a decades-old unsolved series of crimes known as “the Vanishings,” which Cork’s father looked into when he was sheriff. The sixth corpse, that of a well-dressed woman, appears to have been in the mine about a week.Rock-solid prose combines with effective characterizations and a logical if complex plot for a thrilling read. This book succeeds on every level and ought to attract the author a deservingly wide readership.” – Publishers Weekly , starred review

“Conflicted protagonist Cork O’Connor works a case that has disturbing connections to his own family, as well as his past, in Krueger’s latest (Heaven’s Keep, 2009, etc.). Corcoran “Cork” O’Connor, former sheriff of fictional Tamarack County, Minn., works as a private investigator. His wife, Jo, has died, and his two grown daughters are making their lives elsewhere. His young teenage son is away for the long, hot summer, and Cork has been asked to find mine owner and millionaire Max Cavanaugh’s missing sister, Lauren. Lauren is beautiful and blond and has been known to flit from place to place, but she finally ended up in Cork’s neck of the woods, where she opened a center for the arts. Now Max says she’s vanished and he thinks her disappearance is somehow different this time.

“Max’s unease is bolstered by the animosity generated by a government team surveying one of the mines as a possible repository for nuclear waste. As protesters picket the mine, many involved in the survey are targeted with ominous warning notes printed in a bloody-looking font; in the meantime, Cork suffers from recurring nightmares in which he tries to save his now-dead father, but instead ends up pushing dad to his death. As Cork seeks help deciphering his dream with a longtime family friend, he makes a terrible and unanticipated discovery in a drift, or vertical passage, in the Vermilion One Mine. The discovery opens the door to a new investigation and stirs up powerful demons from Cork’s past, including memories he would much rather forget.

ABOUT THE AUTHORKruegerWilliamKent

William Kent Krueger is the author of nine previous Cork O’Connor mysteries, most recently Heaven’s Keep. The winner of several awards for his writing, he lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit him .

David Francis Reading September 16 7:30 pm

September 8, 2010

David Francis, author of Bringing Jon Home: The Wilderness Search for Jon Francis, will discuss his book Thursday, September 16 at 7:30 pm.  

Bringing Jon Home, the Wilderness Search for Jon Francis, is my first hand account of the long and complex wilderness search for our son, Jon, and the story of Jon’s remarkable life, sudden disappearance, and inspiring legacy.

On Saturday morning, July 15, 2006, Jon Francis, climbed to the summit of the Grand Mogul, in the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Central Idaho. He never returned. Law enforcement searched for only 29 hours. After the evening search team briefing, on July 17, 2006, the Incident Commander, approached me and said; “David, you need to give your son up to the mountain.”

Feeling helpless and abandoned the Francis family gathered that evening as a family and committed to continue the search. We knew very little about mountain climbing or search and rescue, but we would learn and utilize the hundreds of volunteers who were streaming into Idaho to find Jon.

While I relentlessly pursued the search for my son, I also made wonderful discoveries about him. Jon Francis was a remarkable young man. He touched and inspired others. He loved deeply and was deeply loved.

I wrote Bringing Jon Home to help others, to expose the gap in public sector resources dedicated to finding missing adults, and finally to let people know that an uncommon young man, named Jon Francis, once lived and loved among us.

David Francis

Stillwater, Minnesota

Stolen Horses-Midwest Connections

September 8, 2010

What’s the true price of “progress?”

9780803231085 STOLEN HORSES

Dan O’Brien
a bison original

University of Nebraska Press
McDermot, Nebraska, is a pleasant, scenic western cattle town situated in the Pawnee River valley—just the place for people seeking refuge from their hectic city lives. It is also just the place for those who have made their homes on this haunting prairie since the late nineteenth century. Ideal for both, McDermot means everything to those native inhabitants and something very different to those who are looking for a new life.

As the native residents wrestle with the arrival of outsiders, a local journalist uncovers a medical scandal epitomizing the problems facing the divided community. After the death of two men, it falls to the ancient but powerful district attorney to mediate a resolution between the clashing interests of the new and the old West. And the Thurston family, descended from the town’s first citizen, sets out in its own way to fight the forces threatening to destroy it. This is the story of new and old interests colliding, of small western plains towns confronting the forces of “progress.”

Praise for Dan O’Brien’s previous work:

“[O’Brien’s] prose is as strong and true as the frontier it evokes, and his presentation of mood and place is acute and gripping.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The metaphors that resonate below the surfaces of [O’Brien’s] tales render them enjoyable, satisfying, and thought-provoking.”—Publishers Weekly

“The characters and circumstances O’Brien conjures up are rich and complete. We are drawn into their lives, memories, and longings by a voice that is gentle and compelling . . . perceptive and compassionate.”—Southwest Book Review

“Dan O’Brien is a beautiful and sensitive writer.”—John Nichols, author ofThe Milagro Beanfield War

ABOUT THE AUTHORDanO'Brien_AuthorPhoto

Dan O’Brien is the author of numerous novels and memoirs, includingBuffalo for the Broken Heart and The Contract Surgeon, winners of the Western Heritage Award for best nonfiction in 2001 and for best fiction in 1999, respectively.Buffalo for the Broken Heart was the One Book South Dakota selection for 2009. Equinox: Life, Love, and Birds of Prey is available in a Bison Books edition.


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