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Ten Circles Upon the Pond

Ten Circles Upon the Pond Cover

Ten Circles Upon the Pond

Reflections of a Prodigal Mother

By Virginia Tranel

Anchor Books, Paperback, 9781400031214, 336pp.

Publication Date: April 27, 2004

Ten Circles Upon the Pond is a book for anyone who's ever lived in that unwieldy group called family a story of passion, intimacy, work, religion, puberty, love and loss, and the struggle to be steadfast in times of enormous social change. Rooted in real-life experience, this unique, beautifully written collection of essays reads like a novel full of lively characters, spirited dialogue, and a landscape that takes you from Iowa to the high country of Wyoming and Montana. As the chapters unfold, one focused on each child, Virginia Tranel and her husband search for the ideal place to raise the five daughters and five sons born to them between 1957 and 1978.
Tranel artfully weaves daily moments with world events as she reflects on how our culture affects our decisions. She offers candid observations on everything from her reproductive choices and feminism's influence on her thinking to sibling rivalries and her family's emotional response when an architect son emails firsthand reports of the horrors of September 11. Whether considering the issues intrinsic to marriage and child-raising, or questioning her own common sense, her insights are always provocative and deeply moving.

About the Author
Virginia Tranel was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa, and graduated from Clarke College with a degree in English and Spanish. In January 1957, she married Ned Tranel and moved west, settling finally in Billings, Montana. Her essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including the Notre Dame Press anthology of best essays, Family.

Praise For Ten Circles Upon the Pond

“An unusual and absorbing memoir. . . . Intelligent and candid, crafted in fine prose.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Could not be more timely. . . . Tranel's book will offer a good deal of solace to readers made anxious by current doom-and-gloom headlines. . . . [She] is upbeat, imparting parental wisdom in peppy aphorisms, but she also confides her doubts about her own parenting and her faith.”—Booklist

“Tranel’s simple and poetic prose...combined with her refreshingly open thoughts on life . . . make this portrait accessible to all readers. Highly recommended.” –Library Journal (starred)

[Tranel] has managed to find a precious connection with all ten of her sons and daughters. That is the beauty of Ten Circles Upon The Pond. . . . [She] shows that she is at once so old-fashioned, yet so wise to the world she raised her brood in.”—Frank Deford, NPR commentator