Synopses & Reviews
Welcome to the resort town of Weneshkeen, nestled along Michigans Gold Coast, where the sapphire-blue Lake Meenigeesis and the winding Oh-John-Ninny River lie within spitting distance of Lake Michigan. This once-quaint village-home of the yearly Sumac Days festival; a legendary bootleggers mansion; and excellent locally made sausage, cherry pie, and fudge-has become a complex melting pot. There are townies and old-timers who still inhabit the simpler cottages along the shore; ritzy summer folk whove bought up the best lakefront and built view-blocking estates; migrant cherry pickers and wily river guides; there are even a few Ojibwe Indians still around.
It is the summer of 2001, and one of these “original people,” Roger Drinkwater, a Nam vet and lifelong resident, is plotting extra-legal revenge against the “idiot boy” jet-skiers polluting his beloved lake, even as hes pursuing Janey Struska, the take-no-guff deputy sheriff. Mean-while, Mark Starkey, a summer kid from downstate, stumbles into a danger-laced romance with the sexiest rich girl in town; the old-guard cherry farmer “Von” vonBushberger struggles with the legacy of his rapidly changing family; and the towns retired reverend discovers the Internet in the aftermath of his wifes death and finds a new friend in his computer tutor, Kimmy, a teenager who is having a challenging summer of her own. These lives intertwine in surprising ways as the summer blooms, becoming a season of crises both actual and averted, and of rewarding human connection. Finally, The Lake, the River & the Other Lake is a moving testament to the homegrown Midwestern view that most people, when really pressed, will do the right thing.
Steve Amick himself is a delightful discovery; his big heart and gift for social comedy are everywhere evident in this novel of good people trying to find their way.
"The town of Weneshkeen, Mich., on Lake Michigan's Gold Coast, may be little, but a heck of a lot goes on there. This smart, punchy first novel is a smalltown soap opera, burning and churning through the summer of 2001. Amick develops a group of disparate characters, each one with a dilemma to solve or an axe to grind, and then passes the story line from one to the next in a game of literary tag. The novel's primary force is Roger Drinkwater, a no-nonsense Ojibwe Indian who served in Vietnam and coaches the local high school swim team. The calm of his peaceful lakeside home has been shattered by screeching jet skis driven by obnoxious young Fudgies (slang for tourists), and he vows to use his military training to try and silence the mechanized nuisance. Amick peppers his plot with other vexed individuals, including a recently retired minister grappling with an Internet porn addiction and a bigoted orchard owner whose son and daughter betray him by choosing foreign mates. At the start, the novel feels a bit quaint, but it quickly develops a sharp edge. Bitterly comic and surprisingly meaty, this roiling tale of passion, anger, regret and lust is dark fun for the Garrison Keillor demographic. 7-city author tour. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
As the lives and loves of the people of Weneshkeen--a once-quiet village on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan--unfurl, readers are treated to a big-hearted tale that is by turns uproariously funny and dark, and always poignantly real.
About the Author
Steve Amicks short fiction has appeared in McSweeneys, The Southern Review, The New England Review, Playboy, Story, the anthology The Sound of Writing, and on National Public Radio. He has an MFA from George Mason University and has been a college instructor, playwright, copywriter, songwriter, and musician. He lives in Michigan, dividing his time between his hometown, Ann Arbor, and a family cottage on a famously clear lake along the northern edge of the Lower Peninsula.