Arts&Entertainment

book reviews

June 16, 2011 |
Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

 

Reviewed by Laura Flaugher

 

‘South of Superior’

By Ellen Airgood

Penguin

Pub Date: June 2011

$25.95

384 pp

 

“South of Superior” is food for the soul. It is set in a tiny Michigan town on the edge of Lake Superior, where life is lived day by day, paycheck by paycheck, and the people find grace and freedom in barely getting by.

Readers will enjoy a laid-back story told with a fluid and remarkable writing style that conjures both landscape and characters beautifully. The author never requires the reader to endure any major grief or anguish; but simply showcases life.

As a child of three, Madeline’s wild young mother abandoned her in a Chicago church basement. Madeline’s grandfather refused to take her in, leaving her instead to be raised by the woman who found her.

Years later, Madeline is preparing for art school, marriage and home ownership but can’t escape the feeling that something isn’t right. She leaves this seemingly perfect life and travels to Michigan in order to help her late grandfather’s girlfriend.

The tiny Michigan town she uncovers is full of honest, hardworking people: a woman who makes a living selling fish and maple syrup, a man who owns a little pizzeria and two elderly sisters who once ran the only hotel in town. Yearning to discover her roots and make sense of her grandfather’s betrayal, Madeline instead learns acceptance, simplicity and joy.

This story is compelling, providing interesting events and characters to root for (and against). I recommend this book for those looking for a quiet, lovely, life-affirming read. CV