By Abi Maxwell
Vintage Books, Paperback, 9780345802750, 209pp.
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
As an infant, Alice Thorton is found abandoned in a canoe. Adopted by a young childless couple, she is raised with no knowledge of her family’s history, especially that of her strong female forebears—Eleonora, Signe, and Sophie—who hold a special place in the history of their small town of Kettleborough, New Hampshire. Still, as Alice grows up aching for an acceptance she can't quite imagine, she feels a mysterious pull to Kettleborough’s lake and the island at its center, both of which will help provide the key to unlocking the truth of her past.
Resonant with atmosphere, Lake People is a memorable and luminous debut about criss-crossing lives, the interweaving of family history and individual fact, and the intangible connections we feel to the place where we were born.
“Woven with secrets, danger, and a family history both magical and dark, Lake People held me spellbound until the last haunting page.” —Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
“Skillfully executed. . . . Redolent of the secrets that haunt small-town life…. Suggests comparison to authors like Marilynne Robinson and Alice Munro” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Beautifully precise. . . . In Lake People, secrets are kept, secrets are told: Abi Maxwell . . . turns experiences into myths and locales into symbols.” —Jane Smiley, Harper's
“Readers who love deep, dark, rich, multi-character, multi-generation literary novels will gobble up this one like a case of their favorite bonbons.” —The New York Journal of Books
“A stunning book that captivated me completely. . . . A beautiful offering from a talented local writer who shows enormous promise as a first-rate novelist.” —Paul Collins, The Telegraph (Nashua, NH)
“I read this novel almost without stopping—it’s a riveting book, with quiet lyrical power. It’s also inventive, wonderfully strange, hard-headed, and genuinely enchanting. A very impressive debut.” —Joan Silber, author of National Book Award finalist Ideas of Heaven
“Full of missing family, Maxwell’s debut novel begins and ends with Alice. . . . Maxwell’s writing has a whispery, brooding, atmospheric feel that conveys Alice’s fragility while capturing both the lushness of the region and its claustrophobic effect on Alice. . . . Compelling.” —Library Journal
“Lake People is intricate, lovely and wise. Abi Maxwell trusts her stories and her talent, and the result is that rarity among first novels—one that possesses the substance and burnish of a classic.” —Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover
“A powerful sense of place pervades Maxwell’s accomplished debut . . . . Luminous.” —Booklist
“Lake People is one of the most astonishing novels I have read in a decade. Abi Maxwell steps into the literary world with a book that rivals Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.” —Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red