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Sunday October 26, 2014
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Liesel Litzenburger

 

continued

It's 10:38 a.m. and they've been up and driving since six, coffee in Styrofoam cups, then the motel sign falling away in the rearview mirror, replaced by a wall of trees, dense forests melting into hills, slopes of rolling green, the lake disappearing around a curve. Then a fence sliding down the edge of a huge expanse, open field, the bottom marked by a wide, flat valley, one river, two, crossing, recrossing. The landscape moving with them, against them, a shifting kaleidoscope, tipping and turning, all shape and color, backdrop.



What really matters, of course, is how Litzenburger puts all of this together in the life of her characters. Episode by episode, their various stories become clear, their connections with each other more certain and more necessary. A quiet and, to my mind, quite realistic undertone of magic helps these characters discover each other and learn their roles in their small community of suffering and redemption. That tone, the people, and the place where they live combine to make The Widower a book that will live in its readers' imaginations. And, yes, it will live more completely for those of us who share its author's love of the northern landscape.

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