Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Clam Lake Papers by Edward Lueders

Margaret Hawkins, author of The Year of Cats and Dogs and How to Survive a Natural Disaster, told me I have to read this book. And who am I to argue with a writer I admire so much? Not surprisingly, she was right.

This short novel/poetry/philosophy/meditation volume has a quirkiness all its own. The author/narrator is a college professor who spends his summers in his cabin on Clam lake in Northern Wisconsin. He arrives one year to find his food depleted, his bed slept in, and a letter from a mysterious stranger who has spent the winter writing and meditating on language, literature, life, and the flora and fauna in his snowbound cabin.

I have often fantasized about such a hiatus from the world. The silence pervades the pages, and I could not hear the stranger’s voice. Some of his musings are serious and some comic, but all have an air of a man seriously grappling with the large and small details of life.

The stranger is most concerned with metaphors, and he reduces much of human existence to the wide variety of ways we use metaphor. I am not sure I bought into this idea entirely, but it certainly is intriguing.

Winter on Clam Lake

I will nominate The Clam Lakes Papers for candidacy on my “Desert Island Shelf.” It certainly needs another read after I have thought about it a little more. The author has penned a restful, relaxing, serene story, and Lueders has revived my fantasy of a getaway vacation without cell phones, radios, TVs – only paper, pencils, books, and a supply of food. 5 stars

--Chiron, 12/29/10

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