Roland Heinz has lived a life of anonymity in his hometown of Pipe, Wisconsin, but in the literary circles of the wider world he is a god. Twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for literature, the recluse author in declining health, decides to grant a rare interview to a magazine edited by his long-time friend, Harry Stompe; but with a clause. Heinz has handpicked his interviewer, Molly Costello to come to Wisconsin from Boston and record what may be his last testament. Travelling with Molly is famous photographer-to-the- stars, Mike Gabler. What follows is a special week that none of them could have envisioned.
Molly is urged by Roland to send for her two young daughters, which seems an odd request, but it is all part of a story line that Roland is mysteriously creating for these real life characters. What is not planned is Mike's lightning romance with local bartender, Carrie Stirling. As the interview begins to unspool, Roland's health is deteriorating rapidly. He tells his tale with flashbacks to his previous marriage and the havoc he wrought upon his long-gone wife, Karin and her sister, Meg Bollander, who still lives in the farm house above Roland's on The Ledge. Meg's twisted feelings for Roland are a toxic mixture of her eternal loathing for the younger man who chose her sister over herself and the older man who writes like an angel.
Roland Heinz's last interview reveals how he has emerged from the depths of alcoholism and self-loathing into the light of acclaimed writing. We learn along the way how books can change the lives of people who take the time to read them. In a surprise ending, Molly, her children, Mike, Carrie, and Meg all have their futures wrapped around the last days and legacy of Roland Heinz.
The Ledge is also an endearing look into the culture and mores of South Central Wisconsin, particularly, the Holyland between Lakes Winnebago and Michigan, where Friday fish fries and Old Fashions are the staples of life.
Richard Curtis Hauschild is a novelist and screenwriter currently living in North Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, grew up in Libertyville, Illinois, was educated in Lincoln, Nebraska (Nebraska Wesleyan University), and then later was thoroughly corrupted in Hollywood, California. Richard began his writing career as lyric writer for the late-great songwriter/guitarist Jim Krueger, having written words to numerous Krueger songs including the title track of Krueger's Sweet Salvation album. He also has had song credits with Dave Mason, DFK, and The Happy Schnapps Combo. After 19 years in L.A. film production he moved to Wisconsin where he found the solitude and inspiration to write five novels and numerous screenplays. The Ledge is Richard's first novel set in the Fond du Lac area and its sequel, Jersey Flats is nearing completion.
|Publisher:||Dog Ear Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.48(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Richard Curtis Hauschild's first published novel scores on multiple levels. At one level, he delightfully captures the provincial quirkiness of northeastern Wisconsin: its language, mores, traditions, mindset, and, at times, its almost otherworldliness. On another level, the construction of the book works perfectly. Each chapter begins with a first person narration from the protagonist, Roland Heinz. The rest of each chapter then is told by a third person narrator who with great craft presents the reader with a cast of diversely interesting characters who experience a very short but intensely fascinating timeframe. The most interesting level is Hauschild's presentation of the creative process through many of the characters, especially Roland. Literary critic Northrup Frye explaines in The Educated Imagination, "The world of literature is human in shape, a world where the sun rises in the east and sets in the west over the edge of a flat earth in three dimensions, where the primary realities are not atoms and electrons, but bodies, and the primary forces not energy or gravitation but love and death and passion and joy." This is the world that The Ledge unfolds.