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Laura Kasischke is an American poet and novelist. Her work has won critical acclaim in the world of literature and has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Pushcart Prize, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers, and the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award. Laura teaches creative writing and lives in Michigan.
Clever, persuasive writing where the ending has you reaching for the beginning. The first few sentences grab your attention and from then on, you find yourself analysing, speculating, wondering. This story plays with your mind, encouraging it to turn one way, then another, continuing to fill you with uncertainty as a prickle of alarm flits across your consciousness. There is, somehow a feeling of inevitability, of sorrow and heartache that ripples across the pages and permeates your thoughts. The most important thing, is not to race ahead, to not flick through the final few pages, because one glimpse of the last page would completely spoil the unexpectedly startling close to a memorable little book. ~ Liz Robinson
June 2007 Book of the MonthA happy marriage, a sexual fantasy and then everything gets out of control, quite alarmingly so towards the end. This is a tragic story with echoes of American Beauty. It is based on misunderstandings which at times are a bit head-shaking …. How could he have thought that … but as the reader you have to accept he did, go with it and watch the suffering. It is a fast, enjoyable read with some astute observations on modern marriage and illicit sex.Similar this month: None but try Penelope Evans.Comparison: Maggie O’Farrell, Joshilyn Jackson, Elisabeth Hyde.
"e;The first time I had sex with a man for money, it was September still like summer, but the heat in the motel room was on and it seemed to coat my throat with dust. The man was dull, small-eyed, no taller than myself, but he seemed afraid. He wouldn't look at me. When I asked him what he wanted me to do, he said, 'That's your job.'"e; So begins the poet Laura Kasischke's mesmerizing and unforgettable first novel. Leila Murray is the novel's narrator - young, married, living in a small town, and working in a motel as a receptionist, then as a prostitute. Leila slowly discloses the details of her childhood, her mother's murder, and the numb promiscuity of her adolescence, while contemporary events unfold and lead her to the dark turn her life will take one October weekend when she meets a man named Gary Jensen.
They were seventeen with perfect tans and perfect bodies. They planned on a joyride in a convertible on a hot summer day. They planned on skinny-dipping in a beautiful, secluded lake. They planned on making it back to camp before anyone noticed they were gone. What they didn't plan on was being followed by two guys in a beat-up station wagon Their day soon takes a drastic turnall because Kristy Sweetland smiled at the wrong time, in the wrong place, at the wrong boys. Now the girls feel prying eyes on them all the timeduring pep practice, on the path through the woods, outside the window of their cabin. The boys are stalking them, leaving threatening notes on their beds, and watching their every move.Boy Heavenis a provocative, page-turning mystery, and a must-read for anyone who loves an urban legend.
The inspiration for the film of the same name, starring Shailene Woodley and Eva Green. I am sixteen when my mother steps out of her skin one frozen January afternoonpure self, atoms twinkling like microscopic diamond chips around her perhaps the chiming of a clock, or a few bright flute notes in the distanceand disappears. No one sees her leave, but she is gone. Laura Kasischkes first novel. Suspicious River. was hailed by the critics as extremely powerful (The Los Angeles Times), amazing (The Boston Globe), and a novel of depth, beauty, and insight (The Seattle Times). Now Kasischke follows up her auspicious debut with a spellbinding and erotic tale of marriage, secrets, and self-deception. When Katrina Connors mother walks out on her family one frigid January day, Kat is surprised but not shocked; the whole year she has been becoming sixteenfalling in love with the boy next door, shedding her baby fat, discovering sexher mother has slowly been withdrawing. As Kat and her father pick up the pieces of their daily life, she finds herself curiously unaffected by her mothers absence. But in dreams that become too real to ignore, shes haunted by her mothers cries for help. . . . Like Suspicious River, which The New Yorker described as by turns terrifying and ravishingly lyrical, White Bird in a Blizzard evokes the works of Kathryn Harrison and Joyce Carol Oatesand confirms Kasischkes arrival as a major talent.
death. In Godwin Honors Hall, the walls are draped in black. The college is in mourning for Nicole Werner, a blonde and beautiful prom queen who died in a car crash last semester. She was a prized member of the Virgin Sisters, the most powerful sorority on campus. obsession. Nicole's boyfriend Craig was at the wheel that night. He has no memory of the crash, but he is plagued by guilt. For as winter sets in and the nights darken, Nicole's death dominates college life - and then the hauntings begin. suspicion. Craig's roommate, Perry, doesn't believe in ghosts. He always thought Nicole was as manipulative as she was charming, and refuses to be swept up in the hysteria. But when he and his fellow sceptics join forces, he too sees Nicole's spirit in the crumbling college halls...
For Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them editors Keith Taylor and Laura Kasischke asked twelve celebrated Michigan writers to submit new stories on one subject: ghosts. The resulting collection is a satisfying mix of tales by some of the state's most well-known and award-winning writers. Some of the pieces are true stories written by non-believers, while others are clearly fiction and can be funny, bittersweet, spooky, or sinister. All share Michigan as a setting, bringing history and a sense of place to the eerie collection. Ghosts in these stories have a wide range of motivations and cause a variety of consequences. In some cases, they seem to dwell in one person's consciousness, as in Steve Amick's Not Even Lions and Tigers, and other times they demonstrate their presence with tangible evidence, as in Laura Hulthen Thomas's Bones on Bois Blanc. Spirits sometimes appear in order to communicate something important to the living, as in James Hynes's Backseat Driver and Lolita Hernandez's Making Bakes, to change the course of events, as in Anne-Marie Oomen's Bitchathane, or to cause characters to look inside themselves, as in Elizabeth Schmuhl's Belief. The supernatural stories in Ghost Writers visit a mix of Michigan locations, from the urban, to the suburban, and rural. Authors find ghosts in family farmhouses, downtown Detroit streets, an abandoned northern Michigan lighthouse, gracious Grosse Pointe homes, a mid-Michigan apartment complex, and the crypt of a Polish priest in the small town of Cross Village. Taylor and Kasischke have assembled a collection with a diverse mixture of settings, tones, and styles, ensuring that Ghost Writers will appeal to all readers of fiction, particularly those interested in the newest offerings from Michigan's best fiction writers.
A sudden death. In Godwin Honors Hall, the walls are draped in black. The college is in mourning for Nicole Werner, a blonde and beautiful prom queen who died in a car crash last semester. She was a straight-A student, and a prized member of the Virgin Sisters, the most powerful sorority on campus. A feverish obsession. Nicole's boyfriend Craig was at the wheel that night. He has no memory of the crash, but he is plagued by guilt. For as winter sets in and the nights darken, Nicole's death dominates college life. Candlelit vigils and fetishistic rituals become nightly events -and then the hauntings begin. A flicker of suspicion. Craig's roommate, Perry, doesn't believe in ghosts. A no-nonsense type who always thought Nicole was as manipulative as she was charming, he refuses to be swept up by the hysteria. But when he and his fellow sceptics join forces, he too sees Nicole's spirit in the crumbling college halls. Something very strange is going on...
The accident was tragic, yes. Bloody and horrific and claiming the life of a beautiful young sorority girl. Nicole was a straight-A student from a small town. Sweet-tempered, all-American, a former Girl Scout, and a virgin. But it was an accident. And that was last year. It's fall again, a new semester, a fresh start. Craig, who has not been charged with murder, is focusing on his classes, and also on avoiding Nicole's sorority sisters, who seem to blame him for her death even though the police did not. Perry, Craig's roommate, is working through his own grief (he grew up with Nicole, after all, and had known her since kindergarten) by auditing Professor Polson's sociology class: Death, Dying, and the Undead. Mira has been so busy with her babies-two of them, twins, the most perfect boys you could imagine but still a nearly impossible amount of work even with Clark's help-that she can barely keep herself together to teach (Death, Dying and the Undead), let alone write the book she'll need to publish for tenure. And Shelly, who was the first person at the scene of the accident, has given up calling the newspapers to tell them that, despite the "e;lake of blood"e; in which they keep reporting the victim was found, the girl Shelly saw that night was not bloody, and not dead.
In 1903, a preacher named Benjamin Purnell and five followers founded a colony called the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where they prepared for eternal life by creating a heaven on earth. Housed in rambling mansions and surrounded by lush orchards and vineyards, the colony added a thousand followers to its fold within a few years, along with a zoo, extensive gardens, and an amusement park. The sprawling complex, called Eden Springs, was a major tourist attraction of the Midwest. The colonists, who were drawn from far and wide by the magnetic King Ben, were told to keep their bodies pure by not cutting their hair, eating meat, or engaging in sexual relations. Yet accounts of life within the colony do not reflect such an austere atmosphere, as the handsome, charming founder is described as loving music, dancing, a good joke, and in particular, the company of his attractive female followers. In Eden Springs, award-winning Michigan author Laura Kasischke imagines life inside the House of David, in chapters framed by real newspaper clippings, legal documents, and accounts of former colonists. Told from the perspective of the young women who were closest to Benjamin Purnell, the novella follows a growing scandal within the colony's walls. A gravedigger has seen something suspicious in a recently buried casket, a loyal assistant to Benjamin is plotting a cover-up, talk is swirling about unmarried girls having babies, and a rebellious girl named Lena is ready to tell the truth. In flashbacks and first-person narrative mixed with historical artifacts, Kasischke leads readers through the unraveling mystery in a lyrical patchwork as enticing and satisfying as the story itself. Eden Springs lets readers inside the enchanting and eerie House of David, with an intimate look at its hedonistic highs and eventual collapse. This novella will appeal to all readers of fiction, as well as those with an interest in Michigan history.
Diana stands before the mirror, preening with her best friend, Maureen. Suddenly, a classmate enters holding a gun, and seventeen-year-old Diana sees her life dance before her eyes. In a moment, the future she was just imagining is sealed by a horrific decision she is forced to make. The novel takes us through Diana's uncertain steps into womanhood-her awkward, heated forays into sex; her fresh, fragile construction of an identity; and her equally tenuous steps as an adult, protecting her beloved daughter and holding onto her successful husband. Laura Kasischke has crafted a story of consciousness that encompasses the truth of a teenager's world and the profound transformation of that world at midlife. Resonant and deeply stirring, this novel finds piercing beauty in the midst of a nightmare that echoes like a dirge beneath each new spring.
The subject matter of these poems is ordinary: motherhood, marriage, sexuality, middle age, ambivalence, mortality, the Midwest. But in addressing these topics, Laura Kasischke finds and reveals the strangeness of the most common traditions and dilemmas. These are poems that work to fuse reality and dream, life and death, logic and illogic. Kasischke precisely renders the experience we have of ourselves as physical and time-bound beings existing in a psychological and spiritual realm that seems to have no barriers or laws. The poems in this collection are both narrative and lyric, grounded in reality but also surreal, at once fully realized and merely hinting at what might be.
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