Monday, June 21, 2010

It's Almost the First Day of Summer--Time for Reading Adam Schitema's Freshwater Boys by the Lake of Your Choice

Is reading best in winter, in a cozy cabin, perhaps in front of a fireplace? Or is it best in summer, at a cottage, perhaps lounging on a hammock? Are summers for escapism, or are they the best time to get through that book you've been putting off all spring? Get out your copy of The Lonely Polygamist or Day for Night that I foisted on you this spring, which, despite your best intentions, you hadn't got around to yet.

One book that combines the best of summer and winter reading is Adam Schuitema's new collection of stories, Freshwater Boys. Despite one story taking place during a massive snowstorm, the setting on the western shores of Lake Michigan put me in mind of summer, much like Steve Amick's book from several years ago, The Lake, The River, and the Other Lake.

Schuitema's stories are summery in that they reminded me of youthful memories, but possess a gravitas which some associate with winter reading. An impulsive run leads to some treacherous falls and perhaps a run-in with a kidnapper. A youthful dare on the lake leads to a tragic accident, as does childhood game in the woods. Another weekend retreat unearths some family bitterness.

Schuitema captures the angst of adolescence, and the dark side of masculinity. Boy or man, there's a lot of questioning, these characters have a lot to learn. The stories are structured very differently from Ben Percy's collection, Refresh, Refresh, but have a similar dark undercurrent.

Or do I mean undertow? Whatever--these stories are good! Local writer Susan Engberg, author of Above the Houses, was in agreement when I last saw her. In fact, she recommended I read the collection before I even booked the event.

Yes, he's coming. Adam Schuitema, author of Freshwater Boys, will be visiting Boswell for a talk/reading/signing on Wednesday, August 12th, at 7 PM.

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