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Stillwater

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Stillwater Cover

ISBN13: 9780547898209
ISBN10: 0547898207
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“A wonder of a novel, rich in history, humor, and heart, with prose that flows and sparkles like a sunlit river.” — Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon

“Lyrical and humorous [with] gorgeous prose . . . A rich and intricate novel full of compassion for these pioneers and the place they live.” — St. Paul Pioneer Press

 

Raised in the same small community, Clement and Angel, fraternal twins separated at birth, grow up in different worlds. He lives among orphans, nuns, Native Americans, prostitutes. She lives in the town mansion, dressed in taffeta skirts and dodging her mother’s manic attention. Bound by a mystical connection, the twins rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come.

Near the Mississippi River and Canada, Stillwater becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As the nation pushes boundaries, geographic and moral, and marches into civil war, the territory is at a crossroads. Clement and Angel have both learned to survive at the edge of things, but what will this new world hold for them? Will it set them free?

Stillwater is a lyrical, vibrant, often hilarious, and always unforgettable journey into our past, ourselves, and the impulses that drive us to create and explore.

 

“Told in a vigorous and warmly resonant prose that captures both the ridiculous and the sublime . . . A steady pleasure.” — Historical Novel Society

Stillwater has true grit . . . Entertaining, inventive, outrageous and well-told.”—MinnPost

Review:

"Helget, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir The Summer of Ordinary Ways, sets her third novel in the harsh frontier of Minnesota around the time of the Civil War, where the explosion in logging activity transforms her characters as wholly as it does the landscape. What drives the narrative is the dark side of the pioneer spirit — the urge to abandon home and loved ones in search of opportunity. Helget's colorful cast struggles against an 'every man for himself' frontier mentality: from a set of orphaned, separated twins named Clement and Angel; to their biological father, a ne'er-do-well fur-trapper named Beaver Jean; to Angel's nervous, abusive adoptive mother in her fine taffeta skirts; to the nuns and priests and native Americans and escaped slaves who fill out the titular town of Stillwater. The question of whether they will — or won't — take the risks to help each other survive gives the story some tension, but Helget's lyricism is what elevates it: 'Wedged among the reeds of the shore, the swan's nest rested in a precarious position... Clement watched as the river took another few strands of the nest, and he was reminded of what happens when one thread is pulled from the cloth.' Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

Fraternal twins, separated at birth, are raised in the same small town, where they struggle for freedom from their families, their destinies, and, sometimes, each other—all with the underground railroad as a haunting presence in their lives

Synopsis:

“Lyrical and humorous . . . A rich and intricate novel full of compassion for these pioneers and the place they live.” — Saint Paul Pioneer Press

“Vibrant.” — NPR, Weekend Edition Saturday

"Told in a vigorous and warmly resonant prose that captures both the ridiculous and the sublime.” — Historical Novel Society

Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the town's richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her adoptive mother's manic attention. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come. They have both learned to survive at the edge of things — amid the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a freer, more prosperous future. Stillwater is a lyrical, vibrant, often hilarious, and always unforgettable journey into our past, ourselves, and the impulses that drive us to create, explore, and — sometimes — destroy.

Synopsis:

Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the towns richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her mothers mental illness. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come to save him.

Stillwater, near the Mississippi River and Canada, becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As Clement and Angel grow up and the country marches to war, their lives are changed by many battles for freedom and by losses in the struggle for independence, large and small.

Stillwater reveals the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, squaws, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a better, freer, more prosperous future. It is a novel about mothers, about siblings, about the ways in which we must take care of one another and let go of one another. And its brought to us in Nicole Helgets winning, gorgeous prose.

About the Author

Born in 1976, NICOLE LEA HELGET grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, a childhood and place she drew on in the writing of her memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways. She received her BA and an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Based on the novels first chapter, NPRs Scott Simon awarded The Turtle Catcher the Tamarack Prize from Minnesota Monthly.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

The Lost Entwife, February 18, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I love historical fiction and, while I love a good European fiction novel as much as the next fan, there's something just.. special about reading American historical fiction. So when I picked up Stillwater, as intrigued as I was about the twin angle, I was even more so excited about the historical angle - the underground railroad, the becoming of Minnesota as a state (a setting for a story I hadn't come across yet), you get the idea. And while I was interested by the story, it just seemed as if there was something off - something that took away from my pure enjoyment. After giving it some thought, I think I've finally figured out what that off-putting thing is.

You see, Stillwater is told in a very choppy kind of way. Similar to a short-story style, each chapter is a snapshot of a specific character in a specific time of the story line. The twins are not the central characters to this story, rather the twins and those around them (the man that sired them, their mother, and the circumstances surrounding their birth) are all put together to create a sort of ambiance of a story rather than a clear, straight-forward tail.

But that's not a bad thing and I think that, if some other ingredients had just been tweaked a bit in the book, the result would have been really enjoyable. What I really struggled with was trying to figure out what all was supposed to be the story. There was historical events, but just a slight touch of them. There were interesting characters, but the end of the book left me wondering what their purpose had been. Was Stillwater supposed to be a story about people or is a snapshot picture of a particular time period in a particular towns life? These are the questions I was asking myself when I finished the book and why I ended up unsatisfied.

Don't get me wrong. There were really enjoyable moments in the book, moments that I found myself not wanting to put it down, and the writing was beautiful in many, many places. But when it comes down to it, I enjoy a sense of closure in my novels - even if that closure leaves the characters in a place where I can picture an ending for them. Instead, with Stillwater, I put the book down wondering... what was the purpose of this book?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547898209
Author:
Helget, Nicole Lea
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Historical
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20140231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Stillwater Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547898209 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Helget, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir The Summer of Ordinary Ways, sets her third novel in the harsh frontier of Minnesota around the time of the Civil War, where the explosion in logging activity transforms her characters as wholly as it does the landscape. What drives the narrative is the dark side of the pioneer spirit — the urge to abandon home and loved ones in search of opportunity. Helget's colorful cast struggles against an 'every man for himself' frontier mentality: from a set of orphaned, separated twins named Clement and Angel; to their biological father, a ne'er-do-well fur-trapper named Beaver Jean; to Angel's nervous, abusive adoptive mother in her fine taffeta skirts; to the nuns and priests and native Americans and escaped slaves who fill out the titular town of Stillwater. The question of whether they will — or won't — take the risks to help each other survive gives the story some tension, but Helget's lyricism is what elevates it: 'Wedged among the reeds of the shore, the swan's nest rested in a precarious position... Clement watched as the river took another few strands of the nest, and he was reminded of what happens when one thread is pulled from the cloth.' Agent: Faye Bender, Faye Bender Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
Fraternal twins, separated at birth, are raised in the same small town, where they struggle for freedom from their families, their destinies, and, sometimes, each other—all with the underground railroad as a haunting presence in their lives
"Synopsis" by ,
“Lyrical and humorous . . . A rich and intricate novel full of compassion for these pioneers and the place they live.” — Saint Paul Pioneer Press

“Vibrant.” — NPR, Weekend Edition Saturday

"Told in a vigorous and warmly resonant prose that captures both the ridiculous and the sublime.” — Historical Novel Society

Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the town's richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her adoptive mother's manic attention. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come. They have both learned to survive at the edge of things — amid the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a freer, more prosperous future. Stillwater is a lyrical, vibrant, often hilarious, and always unforgettable journey into our past, ourselves, and the impulses that drive us to create, explore, and — sometimes — destroy.

"Synopsis" by , Clement and Angel are fraternal twins separated at birth; they grow up in the same small, frontier logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. Clement was left at the orphanage. Angel was adopted by the towns richest couple, but is marked and threatened by her mothers mental illness. They rarely meet, but Clement knows if he is truly in need, Angel will come to save him.

Stillwater, near the Mississippi River and Canada, becomes an important stop on the Underground Railroad. As Clement and Angel grow up and the country marches to war, their lives are changed by many battles for freedom and by losses in the struggle for independence, large and small.

Stillwater reveals the hardscrabble lives of pioneers, nuns, squaws, fur trappers, loggers, runaway slaves and freedmen, outlaws and people of conscience, all seeking a better, freer, more prosperous future. It is a novel about mothers, about siblings, about the ways in which we must take care of one another and let go of one another. And its brought to us in Nicole Helgets winning, gorgeous prose.

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