Lake Dreams the Sky: A Love Story

Lake Dreams the Sky: A Love Story

by Swain Wolfe
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Myth, emotion, vision, and dream tell the story of legendary lovers who passion set the lake on fire.

Author Biography: Swain Wolfe is a writer and filmmaker who has lived in Montana most of his life. The Woman Who Lives in the Earth is his first novel.

His early films were made in Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Montana.

See more details below

Overview

Myth, emotion, vision, and dream tell the story of legendary lovers who passion set the lake on fire.

Author Biography: Swain Wolfe is a writer and filmmaker who has lived in Montana most of his life. The Woman Who Lives in the Earth is his first novel.

His early films were made in Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Montana. An interest in cultural anthropology resulted in the films Energy & Morality, about the effect of high energy use on social behavior, and Phantom Cowboy, about the ways groups and individuals heighten their sense of identity by using aggression to isolate themselves and their causes from the general public. His films have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and have twice represented the United States in the International Public Television Conference.

Recent projects have taken him to a Bedouin shanty town on the Gulf of Aqaba and to an island in Alaska to observe and film grizzly bears. The latter film, The Sacred Bear, will explore bear stories from early Eurasian and North American cultures, and compare our present views of nature with those of our early ancestors. One day in a meadow by the sea, he woke from a nap to find himself surrounded by five large grizzlies. He explained, "The bears were eating Chocolate Lilies. They ignored me. But sometimes, when I'm just waking up, I can still feel bears around me: large, serene, self-possessed bears."

For years Wolfe lived and worked around natural storytellers. The first were the cowboys he lived with as a boy on ranches in Colorado and Montana. As a young man he worked in the underground copper mines of Butte andWalkerville, and later as a logger in the Bitterroot Mountains. In an interview for the Bloomsbury Review he explained how these jobs affected the way he sees the world.

"When you're underground for a while, you begin to get the feel of where the ore flows, how hard the granite is one place from another, how hot the wall temperature is from level to level, where the earth slips and messes up the tracks, and things you knew but never had words for. Then one day after work you drive over to Anaconda to see your girl and you realize something is very different. Your world is never going to be the same because you cannot be on the surface without thinking about what's underneath. And like water seeping through sand, that sensation invades everything, all your thoughts, your dreams. You're never the same. The mines let you see in unconventional ways. At the same time, many of the miners knew how to tell stories better and with greater purpose than any I've read.

"After the mines, I worked in the woods. I became intensely aware of trees, which created another world for me and a very different way of seeing. Our early ancestors believed the world was alive and aware of us. I know how that feels and it affects how I write and how I tell stories."

His novel, The Woman Who Lives in the Earth, evolved over a period of years. "The end of the story came from a dream I had as a child. The personalities of the people, even various animals, and, of course, all those experiences that show up in small, unconscious ways — all these things became a vague sensation that surrounded my dream. Then one day it was a story. It was like seeing a face for the first time in the ancient plaster of your kitchen wall. We can look at something for years, and suddenly see it."

In recent years his interest as a filmmaker and writer have focused on the way different cultures and individuals use stories. He has just finished a children's story about a lonely man who discovers what it is that hides in his shadow and why his past follows him wherever her goes. Wolfe is currently working on a love story about two people who attempt to create a life outside the norms and conventions of society.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Bloomsbury Review
. . .will become a classic.
Celia McGee
...an astonishment of tragic Americana that sees with a singular vision the complications of love, nature, heroism, and art.
David James Duncan
...the most formidable Montana late-bloomer since Norman Maclean. Swain Wolfe's voice...bends the mind the way a prism bends light or a blues man his guitar strings.
James Welch
...a storyteller of awesome proportions. This is truly one of those books you can't put down.
Los Angeles Times
An evocative story...It will make you wistful.
Oscar Hijuelos
Swain Wolfe is a magician—his hypnotic prose makes the familiar strange, the strange familiar.
Rick DeMarinis
Here is a beautiful story, beautifully told. Swain Wolfe is a magician—his hypnotic prose makes the familiar strange, the strange familiar. The Lake Dreams the Sky won't be an easy novel to forget.
Sandra Scofield
An irresistible novel about the pleasures of falling in love, the tensile bond between women of kin, and the pain of discovering just what it means to be an outlaw, just how dangerous it is to break thge rules.
Washington Post
Sweet-tempered and hopeful, Wolfe's novel is controlled and entertaining.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060929930
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/01/1999
Edition description:
1 HARPER
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.34(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.83(d)

Read an Excerpt

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

They said the lake was so deep in places you could never find bottom. When Liz was nine, Jess Beckett and his grandfather tied a three-pound iron bolt to a mile of twine and let it play out into the deepest part of the lake. The bolt never touched bottom. When they pulled up the twine, the bolt was gone. Something a mile down had taken it.
She had known a mysterious, wild, and deadly lake. It left a sensation deep inside that seemed stronger than love. She never imagined this feeling would betray her. She was not prepared for the complexity that shaped her life beyond the boundaries of her youth. Like a selfish lover, the lake had slowly pulled her apart.
Now she was going back, twenty-three years later, her face pressed to the window, searching the ground below for a familiar road or mountain peak. She stretched her neck, giving the short, cowlick of a man next to her a chance to ask where she was going, where she was from, and what she did.
"To visit my grandmother, and get a good rest. I live in Boston. I analyze real estate demographics."
The man perked up on analyze. "What do you do with the numbers?" he asked. The way he said numbers made them sound precious, like children or peaches.
"We contract to the feds," she said. "But they're used by everybody: city planners, insurance companies, chain stores, housing developers. They all get their fingers in our numbers."
"Interesting work." He nodded and smiled.
She sighed in anticipation of escape as the plane tilted into its descent. Most of the passengers were businessmen, stuffed into their pants, mustached and cowboy-booted men withscotch and sirloin bellies who, like the cows they ate, leaned heavily in all directions.
She imagined the plane plunging into the lake, silent
and sharp--the bellied men, wide-eyed and gripped in screams. She was happy to trade them to God for the snowy egret or the black-footed ferret or whatever the infinite absorption of scotch and sirloin was putting an end to.

Outside the terminal an Indian leaned against an old, blue Ford pickup, his head tilted up toward the sky, reading the clouds. Liz studied him through the tinted glass, guessing the facts of his life. Sure that he was her ride, she tapped on the glass and waved.
The Indian failed to notice. He was watching the clouds change from animals to people and back again. She stopped trying to get his attention and went to the door, keeping an eye on her luggage.
"Excuse me," she called. "Are you Ana's man?"
His head came forward as his eyes took in the short skirt and red lips. "I never thought of it that way," he said. He had a pockmarked face, greasy hair pulled back straight in a long braid, and a voice that was flat and soft in a way that sounded thoughtful or menacing.
She wondered if his hair was dirty or if he greased it deliberately.
"Did Ana send you?" she asked. Her tone betrayed her hope that he was not the one.
"I came to give Elizabeth a ride to Ana Hanson's."
"It's Liz," she said. Her voice made a nervous little jump and her eyes darted from the Indian to her luggage. She was only anxious for her possessions, but he assumed she was giving orders. He retrieved the luggage--a weekend case and a larger suitcase--and set them in the back of his pickup. He carefully covered them with a tarp, which he secured with a cinder block at each corner.
She quelled a groan of disbelief. She could imagine the blocks sliding around, letting the tarp sail into the road, causing an accident. And she did not like his wreck of a truck. A van would have made more sense. Her concern showed in her hesitation. She got in, clutching a small computer and a handbag.
A faint smile slid across the Indian's face. She guessed he was amused by her apprehension. She balanced the computer and the bag on her knees and reached for the seat belt, but the truck was designed before the era of safety consciousness. He glanced down at her searching hands. She could see he thought she was pathetic. She stared at him, seat belt-less and angry.
The Indian ignored her and started the truck. The lack of a muffler glorified their exit from the parking lot.
"You're a magazine woman," he said in his soft tone, barely audible over the gurgle of the engine.
"What makes you think I'm in publishing?" she asked.
"No, not that way. You're like a woman in a magazine."
"How so?" she asked.
"Not too many people dress that fancy. Nobody here."
"Nobody?"
"No."
"Professional women wear blue jeans and cowboy boots, I suppose?"
"I don't know about professional women. My people's women only dress up for church. But, the Father doesn't like those short skirts."
She checked him for humor, found none, and decided to sit out the ride in silence. For a half hour, she stared at the passing landscape as the unmuffled engine rapped at her nerves.
On the higher hills, pale green sage rolled back from the road toward the mountains and their snow-covered peaks. An unusually wet, warm spring had filled the creeks and river, and flooded the lowest pastures. The highway stretched north pulling her toward the lake and old possibilities.
The Indian had soured things for her. His belly hung down over the big silver beacon of a buckle, stretching his shirt taut at the mother-of-pearl snaps. He was a mean, bitter man. She wondered why Ana had sent him.

Read More

What People are saying about this

James Welch
In The Woman Who Lives in the Earth, Swain Wolfe introduced himself as a writer of great imagination and sensitivity. Now, in The Lake Dreams the Sky, he proves himself to be a storyteller of awesome proportions. This is truly one of those books you can't put down.
David James Duncan
The Lake Dreams the Sky is about the clash between a remnant tribal culture and the non-culture of the Western town. But greater than its clash is its sentence-by-sentence music. Swain Wolfe's voice -- with its quiet slippings into myth, eroticism, vision, dream -- bends the mind the way a prism bends light or a blues man his guitar strings. . . .
Sandra Scofield
Swain Wolfe's irresistible novel entrances the reader with a silken ribbon of narrative and a warm, generous voice . . . about the wonderful setting, the pleasures of falling in love, and the tensile bond between women of kin. . . . The story pierces the reader with the pain of discovering just what it means to be an outlaw, just how dangerous it is to break the rules.
Celia McGee
"A soaring departure from his earlier writing that nonetheless draws on all the strengths and specialness of that first work...The Lake Dreams the Sky is an astonishment of tragic Americana and sees with a singular vision the complications of love, nature, heroism, and art."
Celia McGee
A soaring departure from his earlier writing that nonetheless draws on all the strengths and specialness of that first work . . . The Lake Dreams the Sky is an astonishment of tragic Americana and sees with a singular vision the complications of love, nature, heroism, and art.
Oscar Hijuelos
"THE LAKE DREAMS THE SKY is an elegantly written, heartfelt novel, deserving of a wide readership."

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >