Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Northern Minnesota in November can be a perilous place with unforeseen snow storms, rattling winds, monster size waves on Lake Superior, with a chill that resides in your bones. It is enough to make you stoke up the fire and stay indoors until Spring. Peter Geye's novel "Safe from the Sea" evokes the unpredictable Minnesota landscape amidst a powerful survival story that will make you want to pack your bags and move to a cabin in the Northwoods.
Safe from the Sea is a story about a father and son relationship torn apart by a shipwreck on Lake Superior. Olaf is on an ore boat in November during a Northeaster when his boat catches on fire and sinks. He physically survives but emotionally he is a wreck at the bottom of the sea. Forty years later Olaf is sick and dying and his estranged son, Noah, finds himself learning to understand and love his father.
Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world and it is like a mini-ocean. The huge waves crash upon the shore, there is a swift undertow in some locations and the water is very cold. There have been approximately 350 shipwrecks on the lake with the most famous being the Edmund Fitzgerald which sunk on November 10th, 1975 and Gordon Lightfoot sang a song about it. Most shipwrecks on Superior take place in November because of the quick "Northeasters". Northeasters are storms that contain high winds, rain, snow, and cold temperatures.
This is an amazing journey through the rough seas of Lake Superior and the nature of being human. The relationships and the landscape juxtapose to create a beautiful story that is timeless.
Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes and full of fishermen and women. Do you like to fish? Throw some bait on your hook, drop in your line and reel in this book, it is definitely a keeper. Safe from the Sea will reside on my bookshelf to be reread for years to come. I can't wait to share this story with those I love.