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Descripción de la editorial
The story moves back and forth in time from the arrival of Thea from her isolated village in arctic Norway in search of a new life in the near wilderness of a small town and logging camp on the shore of Lake Superior to the travails of her orphaned son, Odd, some twenty years later. When Thea’s aunt and uncle do not meet her boat as planned, she’s initially left abandoned with no money or prospects and without speaking the language. Befriended by a local businessman and apothecary with secrets of his own, she obtains work as a cook in the nearby logging camp. While living through one of the coldest and threatening winters in memory, she is raped by an itinerant peddler and petty criminal. She delivers the baby in a blinding snowstorm the next fall, attended by her original benefactor and his “daughter” who is also the town’s surgeon and midwife, but she soon dies of childbirth complications. The apothecary, Grimm, takes the infant into his household and the boy is raised more or less by the entire town, eventually growing up under Grimm’s influence to be a fisherman, smuggler for Grimm’s whiskey trade, and a boat builder. Still, he struggles to find himself and to reconcile the loss of his mother, and he becomes increasingly troubled by Grimm’s criminal enterprises and dirty secrets until an unlikely love affair puts everything on a collision course.
In Geye s second novel, Odd Eide is born of a crime into difficult late-19th-century rural Minnesota and orphaned within days. But the real tragic figures in this dour, detached novel are the women in Odd s life: his mother, a young Norwegian immigrant living in a crude logging camp; and Rebekah, who helps raise Odd in his adoptive home. When Odd comes of age, he and Rebekah, several years apart, fall in love and leave backwater Gunflint behind. The complex and ambivalent Rebekah helps compensate for the frustrating muddiness that characterizes much of this novel. Geye is a thoughtful writer, but his constant shifts between 1896 and 1920, possibly intended to induce tension that the plot doesn t merit, slow the characters development and prompt readers to stop caring. Of little assistance here is the annoyingly earnest Odd, who Geye (Safe From the Sea) places at the novel s center. The story concerns his redemption, but he has done little to need or earn it in comparison to Rebekah or his mother. After a too-long struggle with good bones but inadequate flesh, the novel draws to an appropriately weary ending.