Points North

Howard Frank Mosher. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-250-16193-2
Mosher’s lyrical stories, published posthumously (he died in January 2017), stand as a last testament to his place among the best regional American writers of his day. Set in mythic Kingdom County, Vt., and pegged loosely on seven generations of the Kinneson clan, the tales follow misfits and locals, upstanding and outcast. Readers become acquainted with Jim Kinneson, editor of the weekly Kingdom Common Monitor, and his brother Charles, a local judge, as they hunt, fish, and grow old observing the place of their birth. Hopping back and forth across the years, stories tell of a runaway slave (“What Pliny Knew”) and of Cousin Bear (“Kingdom of Heaven”), a dress-wearing savant whose handmade violin, “as sweet as first-run maple syrup,” is destroyed by greed. In “Good Sam Merryton,” a mysterious itinerant preacher manages to settle a decades-long feud between the only two churches in town. In “Dispossessed,” the Kinneson boys are no match for the Feds when they decide to build a dam that will destroy the bogs and gores they and their ancestors have known for generations. Mosher’s rich language makes art from both history and the quotidian, from bigotry and courage to fishing flies and brook trout, a species that “found the boreal Kingdom suitable to their needs, and stayed on. Like the Kinnesons themselves.” (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/23/2018
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