Rainy Lake

Mary Francois Rockcastle, Author Graywolf Press $22.5 (272p) ISBN 978-1-55597-218-9
Narrator Danielle Fillian's summers of growing up-1963 to 1970-occupy seven well-wrought stories woven together into a sensitive narrative paced as leisurely as a summer afternoon, and occasionally as enervating. In ``The House (1963),'' which chronicles her family's purchase of, and first summer in, the cabin at Rainy Lake, 11-year-old Danny still cuts out paper dolls and idolizes her older brother, Bryan. Hopeful, excited, the Fillians settle in: father Charlie, an architect, rebuilds the cabin, while mother May, a prize-winning florist, lays a rock garden. In ``Bats (1964),'' exterminators drive out the creatures, but compassionate Danny rescues a few nurselings and later hails the bats' return as a sign of unquelled nature. Central to the novel is Danny's love for gentle Billy Dove, a half-black ``townie boy'' whose father is in prison. Billy's status makes him wary of Danny, but in the idyllic ``Fly-Fishing (1968),'' the two become lovers. The social life of vacationers emerges in ``BYOL Party (1966)'' and ``King and Queen Dance (1967),'' but Rainy Lake's friendships and sylvan pleasures cannot ward off heartache or the Fillian family's eventual disarray. Later, the Vietnam War and radical politics stir bitter debates, leading to a final tragedy that determines Danny's future as a writer who realizes that she can retrieve the lake summers as the ``whole world living inside'' her. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 282 pages - 978-1-55597-242-4
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