On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge—only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. And there you might meet Meg, or the ghost of the girl she was, growing up under her grandfather’s care in a world apart and a lifetime ago. Now an artist, Meg paints images “reflected across the mirrors of memory and water,” much as the linked stories of Vacationland cast shimmering spells across distance and time.
Those whose paths have crossed at Naledi inhabit Vacationland: a man from nearby Hatchet Inlet who knew Meg back when, a Sarajevo refugee sponsored by two parishes who can’t afford “their own refugee,” aged sisters traveling to fulfill a fateful pact once made at the resort, a philandering ad man, a lonely Ojibwe stonemason, and a haiku-spouting girl rescued from a bog.
Sarah Stonich, whose work has been described as “unexpected and moving” by the Chicago Tribune and “a well-paced feast” by the Los Angeles Times, weaves these tales of love and loss, heartbreak and redemption into a rich novel of interconnected and disjointed lives. Vacationland is a moving portrait of a place—at once timeless and of the moment, composed of conflicting dreams and shared experience—and of the woman bound to it by legacy and sometimes longing, but not necessarily by choice.
|Publisher:||University of Minnesota Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Sarah Stonich is the author of the critically acclaimed novels These Granite Islands and The Ice Chorus, as well as a memoir, Shelter. The founder of WordStalkers.com, she lives in Minneapolis and spends summers in northeastern Minnesota.
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stonich does a superb job of weaving together the stories of her characters. They are connected in unexpected ways that I found delightful. I also loved the northern MN imagery that she described perfectly. Great book that's equally great to read on a cozy winter night or on a scorching summer day!
Stonich captures the characters and detail of 'Up North' through her wittily named chapters that weave together a variety of people that have experienced Naledi resort. Vacationland is an entertaining book that transports you to the Land of Sky Blue Water.
The first few pages had me hooked. I found the characters all interesting in their own unique ways. A great read, especially if you have had some experience with visiting a resort.
I really enjoyed this book. I don't typically like a collection of short stories. Each of her stories captured my interested and they wove together by the end of the book. If you've ever been to a resort in northern Minnesota, you could totally relate to the story lines.
I became a Sarah Stonuch fan after reading These Granite Islands. One of my all time favorite books! Vacationland is an amazing collection of characters I feel like I know and if you have ever spent time at an old mom and pop resort, you will love the trip down memory lane! It is an amazing cast if characters who each have their own story but then there is the fun twist of how they are intertwined. Enjoy this one and then go read These Granite Islands.
For the record, my wife and I both loved Vacationland. We have a place 25 miles east of Walker, so can relate to the "up north" experience (and I am originally from Chicago so loved your referencing my favorite American city). However, I was both enamored and fascinated by Sarah Stonich's ability to capture the characters and their interactions, even over time-frames, with one another. She painted portraits of people I have seen and met, yet her descriptions allowed me to get to certain depths that one cannot necessarily achieve in reality. The stories evoked sounds and sights and aromas. It was a pleasure reading Vacationland on many levels so thank s to Stonich for that as well. Her talent is clear.
While it's always a wonderful adventure to read a book by Sarah Stonich, her latest, Vacationland, is an experience you don't want to end. She marvelously wraps her words around a wide variety of characters, giving every one of them their own characteristic voices. Read this book at your own risk - the risk of becoming a Sarah Stonich addict!!
What a marvel! Stonich, as always, hits a home run with this chain of short stories or chaptered novel. With her keen observing eye that spares no one, with her air-tight sentence and her seamless introductions of the past, Stonich creates complex characters that are familiar yet surprise you. Vacationland is a series of stories/chapters that revolve around a resort in northern Minnesota and its owners, a grandfather/granddaughter duo. Both are "characters" in the small town sense: he is a tight-lipped immigrant, she a worldly artist who has lived in Chicago and London. But the book takes in many more characters than these two: it creates an entire town, chapter by chapter, story by story, each one with a fresh character and point of view. The shifts in perspective are done brilliantly and with care: Stonich helps the readers make the transitions with lovely description and background information. This is a groundbreaking book. Other books, such as Louise Erdrich's The Bingo Palace, had portrayed a community in a second person plural chorus-like fashion, but I have never reader a book with such tightly interwoven stories. When I started reading it, I thought it was a collection of short stories; by the end of the reading, it felt like a novel. Stonich's sense of humor twinkles in her descriptions of the coffee-swilling chorus of old men at the diner, the Prius-driving nature-seeking tourist, or the lackluster high school girl who needs help with her homework assignment. On rare occasions, the book's language can become prose-y and flat, but I attribute that to the vast amount of background information the author must stuff into each story as she introduces new characters. If you have ever lived in a small town or stayed at a resort, if you appreciate fully drawn characters and good writing, you must read this book.