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Touch
     

Touch

4.1 8
by Alexi Zentner
 

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In Sawgamet, a north woods boomtown gone bust, the cold of winter breaks the glass of the schoolhouse thermometer, and the dangers of working in the cuts are overshadowed by the mysteries and magic lurking in the woods. Stephen, a pastor, is at home on the eve of his mother's funeral, thirty years after the mythic summer his grandfather returned to the town in

Overview

In Sawgamet, a north woods boomtown gone bust, the cold of winter breaks the glass of the schoolhouse thermometer, and the dangers of working in the cuts are overshadowed by the mysteries and magic lurking in the woods. Stephen, a pastor, is at home on the eve of his mother's funeral, thirty years after the mythic summer his grandfather returned to the town in search of his beloved but long-dead wife. And like his grandfather, Stephen is forced to confront the losses of his past.

Touch introduces you to a world where monsters and witches oppose singing dogs and golden caribou, where the living and the dead part and meet again in the crippling beauty of winter and the surreal haze of summer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Returning home on the eve of his mother's death, an Anglican priest is haunted by memories of his far northern Canada hometown and its intertwined history with his family in Zentner's eerie, elegiac debut. Sitting by his mother's bedside, Stephen recalls his childhood of 30 years earlier, watching the men fell trees and float the logs downriver before the winter freeze. Stephen's father, Pierre, was a logger despite his mangled hand, but after Pierre and Stephen's sister die in an ice skating accident, only stories remain of him, and Stephen later passes these along to his own daughters just as stories of Jeannot, Pierre's father who left Sawgamet when Pierre was an infant, were kept alive as family lore. Soon after Pierre's death, though, Jeannot, a town founder, reappears and insists he has returned to find his wife, though she's been dead for years. The tales he tells Stephen—of golden caribou, malevolent wood spirits, and a winter that lasted so long it buried the town in snow until July—are woven in so seamlessly that the reader never questions their validity. The rugged wilderness is captured exquisitely, as is Stephen's uncommon childhood, and despite a narrative rife with tragedy, Zentner's elegant prose keeps the story buoyant. (Apr.)
Aryn Kyle
“One of those rare novels that takes hold of your imagination and your heart and does not let go.”
Elizabeth Hand
…Stephen's grandfather, Jeannot, [is] one of the more remarkable and original characters in recent fiction, a figure who suggests Paul Bunyan as imagined by Gabriel Garcia Marquez…Touch is a lovely debut, at once dreamy and riveting, like a heavy snowfall watched from a vantage point safe indoors, beside a blazing fire.
—The Washington Post
Washington Post
A lovely debut, at once dreamy and riveting, like a heavy snowfall watched from a vantage point safe indoors, besides a blazing fire.— Elizabeth Hand
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
In this often-haunting debut, fire and ice, light and shadow, death and resurrection intersect. . . . Here the wilderness, of the woods as well as the soul, is a place with which to be reckoned, and the strongest of men and women can fashion from it a life of mythological proportion and beauty.— Susan Thurston
Elizabeth Hand - Washington Post
“A lovely debut, at once dreamy and riveting, like a heavy snowfall watched from a vantage point safe indoors, besides a blazing fire.”
Susan Thurston - Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“In this often-haunting debut, fire and ice, light and shadow, death and resurrection intersect. . . . Here the wilderness, of the woods as well as the soul, is a place with which to be reckoned, and the strongest of men and women can fashion from it a life of mythological proportion and beauty.”
From the Publisher
Starred Review. "...Zentner's elegant prose keeps the story buoyant." - Publishers Weekly

"Dietz artfully portrays the conglomerate of various characters...Appropriate pacing allows listeners to savor...this enthralling debut..." - Booklist

"...vivid and thrilling, interspersed with sudden chilling moments of horror...Zentner’s flawless, fluid execution allows central moments of life, death, and love to layer into a haunting accumulation. Teens will be attracted to the adventure, passion, tragedy, horror, mystery, and the tales of men who live life to the fullest." - School Library Journal, "Adults Book for Teens"

"...reads like a work of art...sad, startling, disturbing, beautiful, powerful and deeply tender..." - Winnipeg Free Press

"...an interesting read...Alexi Zentner has written a wonderful first novel that evokes a rugged wilderness in vivid detail..." - Women's Post

"A sublime haunting, a rippin yarn, and a killer debut." - J. Robert Lennon, author of Castle

"Touch is one of those rare novels that simultaneously takes hold of both your imagination and your heart and does not let go...It's a gem of a book." - Aryn Kyle, author of The God of Animals

"Touch is...full of images so beautiful and strange that they are haunting. Touch more than delivers on the promise of its title: long after the last page, you will still be in its grip." - Josh Weil, author of The New Valley

"Touch is a stunning and provocative debut. Zentner mines the human heart to blend humor with tragedy, myth with reality, addicting his audience to a world as uplifting as it is brutal." - Tea Obreht, author of The Tiger's Wife

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393079876
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/04/2011
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Alexi Zentner is the winner of the 2008 Narrative Prize and 2008 O. Henry Prize, and his fiction has been featured in The Atlantic and Tin House. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his family.

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Touch 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
libsue More than 1 year ago
Stephen Boucher, the soon to be pastor of a church inn Sawgamet, has come home to this town to be with his mother as she passes into the next life. During his last night with her he remembers the events that have shattered his life, and the lives of those who live and work in this north woods town. As the night progresses Stephen introduces us to three generations of the Boucher family. His grandfather, Jeannot, came here to find his fortune in gold, but found love instead. His father who abandoned by Jeannot as a baby, strives to be everything to his children that his father was not, and loses everything in the process. This is a story of freezing cold, staggering heat, bitter truths, creatures from imaginations brought to life, and a love that will not be broken by death. Beyond that it's a beautiful book that dares you to try to put it down.
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Convolvulus More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever>.<
Anonymous More than 1 year ago