Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Lost Lake: Stories

Lost Lake: Stories by Mark Slouka
W.W. Norton & Company: 10/24/17
eBook review copy; 192 pages
ISBN-13: 9780393352665

Lost Lake: Stories by Mark Slouka is a recommended collection of twelve interconnected stories set in a small Czech community on the shores of Lost Lake.

The stories are all wonderfully descriptive and mainly about fishing. The narrator is a middle-aged man, Mostovsky, who is looking back at his experiences at the family's cabin on Lost Lake in upstate New York and the largely Czech community who vacationed there. As with many childhood memories, many of these have a dream-like nostalgic quality to them. Along with the good memories are other memories that are less than beautiful or not completely understood until viewed at as an adult. Strong emotions from the memories are acknowledged, as are the subtleties among the residents there that may be noticed by a child, but, again, only understood as an adult.

The strength in this collection and the reason to read it is the beautiful writing, which is rich in its comparisons and images. That said, this isn't a collection where a whole lot of action takes place or a clear plot is developed. The stories jump back and forth in time as memories and recollections are shared.  There are prose includes descriptions of the nature surrounding the lake in the stories and talk about fishing. A whole lot of talk about fishing. In the end it was all the discussion of fishing that overwhelmed me and began to detract from the quality of the writing.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of W.W. Norton & Company.

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