In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.
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About the Author
Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, and Long Story, Short. She spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"I bet in heaven I'll see some tiny angel and know it's face." TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS is a unique and tastefully written collection of ten heart heavy stories. Caitlin Hamilton Summie explores feelings of grief after loss, last goodbyes and memories of life, love and forgiveness all linked to the importance of family. So many feelings....so much said....iso few, well chosen words. Well done.
This book contains ten very well written short stories. The subject matter is all about family, discovering family, leaving family, returning to family. Brothers, Sisters, Children, Grandparents, Fathers and Sons, Mothers and Daughters trying to hold family together, with varying degrees of success. Daughters pulling away while mothers hold on. Grievances that fester to the point of poisoning relationships. Loving but not really liking your sibling. Husbands who learn about grief that never leaves but learn how to carry it. In “Tags” our narrator, Dolores, knew her father only by her last name. When all the fathers left for the war the women moved into Grammy’s house in Kansas City. Children remembering Fathers lost in the war, remembering the smell of soap while being hugged, remembering the smell of cigarettes, trying to remember fathers who became “vague and shadowy”, fathers who never returned home. In “Growing Up Cold” One runs, two stay, one returns, one is lost, how do you say goodbye? In “Points of Exchange” everything was determined by where you live. If it was by a stop sign in New York City you lived at the point of exchange. Twenty-three-year-old Jenny Nelson needs to leave Minnesota, needs to be something else, somewhere else. It takes a sandal-clad hop-scotch skipping kid to teach her that she will never belong where she has landed, she will never be able to join that community of women. Her community is waiting for her, she just needs to figure it out. Each story is so poignant in its simplicity and heartbreaking in the telling of family dust-ups, coming together, tearing apart, realizations of what might have come before and what will never be a part of the future. Thank you NetGalley and Fomite for a copy.
These ten short stories are all, each one, so softly exquisite, perfect in each brief encapsulated moment of time, of personal feelings exposed, shared moments, delightfully poignant. Each story painted in such detail, with such a clear sense of emotions, the sadness, or memories, heartbreak, loss… those moments in life that one tends to remember in detail even years later. Snippets of time encapsulated in stories where each word feels carefully chosen. Short stories are something I’m not often drawn to, although this past year or two, I’ve found several that I’ve enjoyed. This collection feels less like a collection of separate stories than those bound together as one by the quiet hopelessness, sadness, loss, despair that pervades these everyday, common lives with everyday, common problems: war, the loss of loved ones, watching someone you love slowly fade from this life, slipping away until not even their breath remains. Family conflicts, family tension, life’s disappointments. No one gets through life without experiencing some amount of pain and heartache. I loved each of these stories, each spoke to a different part of me, with so many passages that I loved. I loved how Caitlin Hamilton Summie captured the essence of these places, whether they were on a farm or in near isolation, or the middle of a city, these eras, as well, so many little touches that spoke volumes about who these people were, and how and when and where they lived. There is a quiet simplicity to the telling of these stories, a touch of Marilynne Robinson with a trace of Kent Haruf, a sprinkling of Andrew Krivak, perhaps. Each word seems to be deliberated over and deliberately chosen. ”Who will lay claim to the past? That was what we were arguing about, who would control the way we were remembered. We had not thought of what we were doing. We had not practiced the kinds of verbal reconciliation that we’d need. That came later, slowly, like the snow that winter.” “We’re from the same place, but we have different geographies of the heart.” For me, that is the underlying message of these beautifully written short stories. Recognizing our differences, but honoring those thoughts, those emotions, our humanity, in others as well. Pub Date: 08 Aug 2017 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Fomite