My family and I are vacationing with dear friends in the upper reaches of lower Michigan this week. It’s been a wonderful restful time during which we celebrated the 4th with a small town parade (huzzah for the local librarians!) and sweet, not-too-overpowering-but-well-orchestrated fireworks.
There’s been reading on the beach and delicious meals, a visit to the local alpaca farm and Sleeping Bear Dunes.
And I’m looking forward to stopping in at Brilliant Books in Traverse City some rainy day soon. I am also online (in moderation), and I just received this update from editor & author Christine Maul Rice (her novel Swarm Theory has been called one of the best reads of 2016 so far by Powell’s Books). Today she published our recent conversation in her terrific Chicago-based literary journal, Hypertext Magazine.
If your interested, the entire interview can be found here. I’ll just say that it was one of my favorite exchanges during this Broken Ground launch period. And Chris’s introduction to it will go down as one my favorites, ever, the kind of thing a writer dreams of someone saying.
Here’s what Chris wrote (hope you don’t mind me sharing):
“Karen Halvorsen Schreck’s fourth novel, Broken Ground, illuminates one of America’s darkest and best-kept Depression-era secrets: as we did with Native People prior to and in the wake of Manifest Destiny and to Americans of Japanese descent during World War II, American citizens of Mexican descent were forced into camps and, eventually, many were loaded onto trains and sent to Mexico.
When the book opens, Broken Ground’s unlikely protagonist, the young Ruth Warren, is struggling to survive after her husband and true love has died. In an attempt to rebuild her life, she accepts a scholarship to a teaching college in California. But Ruth ends up fleeing the college and eventually lands in one of California’s repatriationcamps.
And while this is Ruth’s story, Halvorsen Schreck’s perceptive gaze sweeps the landscape – from Oklahoma to California – to uncover the disparity between privilege and poverty, power and marginalization and then pokes and prods at uncomfortable truths until we (and Ruth) understand the terror and tragedy of families being wrenched apart, children being orphaned, the broken promise of refuge in the land of the free.
And although this book is set in the 1930s, events feel disturbingly familiar.”
Thank you, Chris.