ach of these stories, and these are only some of them, has considerable charm; they are as moving as they are funny, and they are quite often very moving and very funny. The storytelling has an old-fashioned air -- Amick uses words like "scoot" and "smooch" and "snicker" -- but it is not sentimental, and it never pokes fun at these small-town characters. Amick has taken care to ensure that the pratfalls of these ordinary people are not mere sight gags; they are revelations about the characters' humanity. Like the giant mapmaker peering through the windows, he has a gift for revealing his characters at private moments. Sometimes, when they think no one is watching, the people of Weneshkeen are monsters; sometimes they are blazingly heroic. Thus Amick catches Reverend Gene, alone at night, appalled, before the bottomless pit of Internet porn: "And some nights, nights like this, he thought he might bust an artery from crying, from sobbing at the thought of what he had become."
The Washington Post
In a novel like this, the thrill for the initiated is to tag each signpost of hallowed holiday ground. When Amick writes, ''Nobody actually enjoyed Sumac Days, but it was a tradition'' -- or when he mentions Vernors ginger ale in passing -- you think with a contented sigh, ''Ah yes, that's my Michigan.'' Even if your Michigan happens, lately, to be Fire Island. Proust isn't the only one who had a madeleine moment. Every summer place engenders its own.
The New York Times
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) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Amick debuts with an account of summer in Weneshkeen, a glitzy town on Lake Michigan's Gold Coast where callow youth vacation and an angry Ojibwe Indian battles despoliation of the lake. With a seven-city tour. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Weneshkeen, MI, a small town on a small lake, appears simple and quiet on the surface. But Amick peels back the picture-postcard serenity with a set of loosely connected stories that are often funny and always touching. Most are based on the conflict between the year-round residents and the summer people (called "fudgies" because of the quantities of the candy they buy at the various shops). Roger Drinkwater is an Ojibwe who served in Vietnam and now coaches the high school swim team. Tired of the noisy jet skis that make his daily swim difficult and dangerous, he enters a one-man crusade to sabotage them. Other stories include a farmer whose son marries a migrant worker and has to face his own feelings of racism, a teen fudgie who begins dating the summer beauty queen and finds that she may be more trouble then she's worth, and a businessman who starts a rumor that David Letterman is vacationing in the town to help sell his idea of Sumac Lemonade. The narrative is driven by the strength of the well-rounded, memorable, and likable characters. The down-home humor will remind readers of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegon" tales (Viking), but Amick moves beyond the puns here and there to show the influence of T. C. Boyle. Darkly funny and bitterly poignant, this first novel is a great read for fans of quirky, well-wrought fiction.-Matthew L. Moffett, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Summer people, townies, migrant workers and an Indian jostle one another in newcomer Amick's fond, wise and thoroughly enjoyable look at a gentrifying midwestern vacationland. The increasingly upscale resort and farming village of Weneshkeen sits somewhere south of the Michigan Hamptons, occupying the land between little Lake Meenigeesis and nearby Lake Michigan. Most of the Ojaanimiziibii Indians who greeted the first European explorers and opportunists have long since been displaced, but Navy SEAL, Vietnam vet and indigenous Indian cynic Roger Drinkwater, comfortably self-employed with a financial cushion from the nearby casino, has hung onto his little piece of the increasingly valuable local property. An eligible but prickly bachelor, Roger spends the long hours away from his not very demanding jerky business waging a clandestine war on the immensely irritating and numerous jet skis that make his morning swim across Lake Meenigeesis more and more dangerous. Well-built Deputy Janey Struska has her eye on Roger both as a suspect in the jet-ski vandalisms and as a pretty good-looking middle-aged Indian, so she has mixed feelings about her non-native Sheriff's dogged pursuit of Roger as a danger to civilization. The jet-ski war is just one of a dozen or so story lines to be worked out over the length of this one pleasant summer. Among the Weneshkeenites with woes to work out are the Reverend Eugene Reecher, a widowed, retired and devilishly horny Presbyterian minister; Mark Starkey, an aimless teenager whose cute ass has gotten him mixed up with a pretty but very screwed-up rich girl; Kurt Lasko, a divorced septic-tank cleaner and Kimberley, his clever daughter; and the vonBushbergers,long-time cherry farmers whose family life has suddenly gone global. And at the edge of the village, rattling around alone in his architectural landmark, in frantic search for new revenue streams, lurks ex-dot-com zillionaire Noah Yoder, the man whose possible connection to David Letterman could change everyone's life. Should be tucked into every Midwestern beach bag. Author tour
“A wonderful novel. . . . Very moving and very funny.” —The Washington Post Book World
“A comic novel with a dark and thoughtful edge, which is the mark of all good comedy. There is enough absurdity and energetic plotting here, enough incongruity and haplessness to keep the laughs coming.” —Chicago Tribune
“Amick displays myriad gifts throughout, creating a believable, heartfelt fictional world and ambitiously introducing a symphonic arrangement of stories. . . . It’s a summer well spent in Amick’s amiable company.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The last writer to celebrate the charms of rural Michigan with equal panache was probably Ernest Hemingway.” —Los Angeles Times