MOBI Ó DOC The Flicker of Old Dreams 9780062686701 FREE î SUSAN HENDERSON

READER The Flicker of Old Dreams

MOBI Ó DOC The Flicker of Old Dreams 9780062686701 FREE î SUSAN HENDERSON » With the uiet precision of Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres and the technical clarity of Mary Roach’s Stiff this is a novel about a young woman who comes most alive while working in her father’s mortuary in a small Nger brother was widely blamed for the tragedy and shipped off to live elsewhere Now out of the blue Robert has returned to care for his terminally ill mother After Mary reserved introspective and deeply lonely strikes up an unlikely friendship with him shocking the locals she finally begins to consider what might happen if she dared to leave PetroleumSet in America’s heartland The Flicker of Old Dreams explores themes of resilience redemption and loyalty in prose as lyrical as it is powerful So excited unbelievably grateful for this generous 2 page review of THE FLICKER OF OLD DREAMS in Publishers Weekly is an interview with my editor Sara Nelson here's a compilation of reviews

KINDLE ´ The Flicker of Old Dreams Ý Susan Henderson

Tuary an unlikely job that has long marked her as an outsider Yet to Mary there is a satisfying art to positioning and styling each body to capture the essence of a subject’s lifeThough some townsfolk pretend that the community is thriving the truth is that Petroleum is crumbling away a process that began twenty years ago when an accident in the grain elevator killed a beloved high school athlete The mill closed for good the train no longer stopped in town and Robert Golden the victim’s you 45 Stars ”My mother has followed us into the house My mother is the name I’ve given his grief She was gone long before I knew what death was so for me she is an abstract loss a game of guessing at the life I might have lived“My mother is a collection of stories and inanimate objects She is a wedding ring in my father’s bedside drawer a rosehips flavored tea bag in the back of our kitchen cupboard that we both refuse to use or throw out She is a picture of someone standing on the rims too far away to see She is a book underlined only to page seven She is a pair of burnt rosebushes in the yard that Pop won’t dig up She is the line between his eyebrows the groove where his smile would be She is a feeling in the gut I can’t name or move“It is my father’s grief that we both suffer” Mary’s life began as her mother’s ended and so she has never known the woman who carried her around in her body until she was ready to greet the world She knows the things she left behind the things her father could never bear to part with What few stories she has been told are by those who live in this town a dot on a map so small that anyone driving by wouldn’t notice there was a town there they’ve passed it by wondering what makes people live such in such an isolated harsh landscape A town that is losing every year residents losing even hope after an accident some twenty years ago at the town granary in which a high school boy Eddie lost his life a death that is still blamed on his younger brother Robert who left town almost immediately after The accident caused the granary to be shut down and when the granary was shut down the train stopped coming to their town Mary and her father live in town at the mortuary which made her the target of much taunting throughout her childhood tainted by her proximity to death An adult now she has never left Petroleum Montana where she has been the embalmer for the funeral home for some time leaving her dreams of becoming an artist somewhat behind She tries to convince herself that the art reuired to offer some comfort to the grieving families they serve is fulfilling enough for her when the truth is that the taunting of her childhood being labeled a “freak” has her still uestioning her worth This was a poignant sweet story about the damage done to people by people and about these small towns that are slowly fading from existence The writing has a simple peaceful elouence in portraying the lives in this small town the damage done out of ignorance and finding the people and place we can call home

Susan Henderson Ý The Flicker of Old Dreams READER

The Flicker of Old DreamsWith the uiet precision of Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres and the technical clarity of Mary Roach’s Stiff this is a novel about a young woman who comes most alive while working in her father’s mortuary in a small forgotten Western town “The dead come to me vulnerable sharing their stories and secrets”Mary Crampton has spent all of her thirty years in Petroleum a small Western town once supported by a powerful grain company Living at home she works as the embalmer in her father’s mor ‘’This town wants you to be as it’s always been and do as it’s always done’’ he says ‘’but what if that’s not what makes you happy’’ In this small community which seems to have been stuck in time being happy isn’t important It’s not even desirable Being ‘’proper’’ is all that matters ‘’Proper’’ according to the wishes of the people who inhabit the god forsaken town and who seem to have been created without something vital for any human being Heart and soulPrepare for major distributions of anger on my part Not because I didn’t like the novel Obviously I did I loved it and so because it created strong feelings in me The most powerful of all being anger But on that later Petroleum is a depressing town that discriminates everyone and everything Mary works as an embalmer in her father’s funeral parlour and many call her ‘’freak’’ because of her profession Robert returns years after a tragic accident to look after his dying mother and the people behave as if he’s got the plague Mary and Robert are two souls who struggle to stand for themselves in the midst of hatred prejudice and hypocrisyOne could say that there’s not much ‘’action’’ in the course of the story that not many ‘’things’’ happen I don’t believe that ‘’action’’ is always necessary for a novel to be interesting I’m sure that daily life offers many secrets worthy of a story For me the most important thing while reading is feelings the way the story and the characters make me react and this is where I return to my initial thoughts in this review I felt a lot of anger Anger towards a community that has no tolerance for what they cannot understand or forgive Anger towards a father who cares nothing for his daughter’s happiness and plays the ‘’righteous’’ part while he’s pretty dishonest and cold hearted Anger towards Mary because she was a coward and in need of a shock to put some sense into her mind since she was unable to do so herselfHenderson structures the story around two themes relationships and the sins of the past The conflicts that lurk in the relationship between a parent and a child between members of a community between two people who love each other but people’s enmity keeps them apart The writer successfully develops the issue of being unable to fully escape the past a theme that is a favorite in Contemporary American Literature and stresses the ‘’holier than thou’ attitude of the residents the selfishness of a parent who fears loneliness and the bravery of the young generation to stand up for what is right Robert has this strength Mary has to find itThe characters whether we like them or not are interesting and well written for the purpose each one of them serves I liked Robert I found him courageous down to earth considerate to those who mattered and rather calm as a person He coped with hostility in an assuring albeit a bit too meek way Mary gave me uite a trouble I confess I did like her but I wanted You’re thirty years old why do you let everyone treat you as if you are a naive child She has retained some rather distorted notions of familial and social obligations in her head Her father was a man I deeply loathed Am I too harsh Possibly I wanted him to vanish to get the Hell out of Mary’s life in some way I haven’t been so furious with a character in a while The real jewel character though is Doris The mysterious woman in the windowI loved Henderson’s writing It is direct and beautiful the chapters are short the narration is uick and never loses momentum There was a certain kind of tenderness in the language but no trace of melodrama and the dialogue was natural It was hard for me to stop reading I wanted to know how the story ended how could Mary escape the suffocating environment in a place whose beauty was wasted in worthless medieval notions of right and wrongI found this novel to be a realistic depiction of the narrow minded small communities than the uaint little towns with the uirky characters we’ve come to see lately Don’t get me wrong I love those stories but here we have the raw unforgiving story of highly unforgiving peopleMany thanks to Harper Perennial and Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review