cover image Your Oasis on Flame Lake

Your Oasis on Flame Lake

Lorna Landvik. Fawcett Books, $23 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-449-91278-2

Everyone needs a refuge, and for the lucky residents of White Falls, Minn., respite can be found in Dick and Devera Lindstrom's suburban basement, a BYOB nightcub called Your Oasis on Flame Lake. Car salesman Dick is an extrovert who loves the idea of a neighborhood hangout and has little trouble convincing his wife and youngest daughter to help him. But as we slowly discover, the Oasis can't conceal the stresses that underlie their lives and those of others in the community. Using the voices of the Lindstroms, their daughter, Darcy, and their friends Sergio and BiDi, Landvik (Patty Jane's House of Curl) builds a narrative that touches on marital harmony and discord, teenage angst and generational tensions. Written with warmth, wit and tart dialogue, the book engages big themes (love, friendship, loyalty, betrayal and the quest for meaning) while recording the mundanities of daily existence. The focus of the plot--an extended crisis involving first BiDi's teenage daughter and then Darcy, several injuries, a car accident and a death--seems almost irrelevant, a vehicle to highlight always fragile family relationships. Nonetheless, Landvik's quirky and passionate characters, and her ardent determination to give them dignity, make this a heartwarming story. Author tour. (July)