Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Beginning & GIVEAWAY Reminder: Vacationland by Sarah Stonich

Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author's name.

A book won't stand or fall on the very first line of prose -- the story has got to be there, and that's the real work. And yet a really good first line can do so much to establish that crucial sense of voice -- it's the first thing that acquaints you, that makes you eager, that starts to enlist you for the long haul. So there's incredible power in it, when you say, come in here. You want to know about this. And someone begins to listen.   -- Stephen King in The Atlantic

EARLY BIRDS: I am experimenting with getting this post up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. We'll try it this way for a couple of months to see if people like the option of early posting. If you have feelings one way or the other, please comment.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I am trying to follow all Book Beginning participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

MR. LINKY: Please leave a link to your post below. If you don't have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.


When Ilsa shakes snow from her ruff, the thing leaves her jaws to skitter across the linoleum.

-- From "Separation," the first story in the interconnected collection, Vacationland by Sarah Stonich.

The first sentence is instantly confusing. But the opening paragraph makes clear that Ilsa is a dog with a frozen something in her jaws.  I had to keep reading to figure out what was going on, and once I did, I was completely sucked into the story. 

Stonich's earlier books, These Granite Islands and The Ice Chorus, which I reviewed here, both showcase her talent as a compelling storyteller.  In Vacationland, you feel like you are right there at Naledi Lodge, an all-but-abandoned former lake resort in northern Minnesota.


Thanks to the author and her publicist, I have a copy of Vacationland to give away to one lucky blogger.  For details and to enter, please go to the GIVEAWAY PAGE.



On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge—only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. And there you might meet Meg, or the ghost of the girl she was, growing up under her grandfather’s care in a world apart and a lifetime ago. Now an artist, Meg paints images “reflected across the mirrors of memory and water,” much as the linked stories of Vacationland cast shimmering spells across distance and time.

Those whose paths have crossed at Naledi inhabit Vacationland: a man from nearby Hatchet Inlet who knew Meg back when, a Sarajevo refugee sponsored by two parishes who can’t afford “their own refugee,” aged sisters traveling to fulfill a fateful pact once made at the resort, a philandering ad man, a lonely Ojibwe stonemason, and a haiku-spouting girl rescued from a bog.


  1. I do enjoy stories with animal characters, although I usually like it better when there are also people in the

  2. That beginning IS confusing. I had to read it twice. I figured out we're talking about a dog ... but now I want to find out what it was!

  3. Curious opening sentence, I don't know what to make of it tbh xP

    My Friday Book Memes

  4. Hi Gilion,

    I too, am totally confused by your opening sentence (even after your expanation) and even more so when I read on down to the book blurb itself.

    I would like to say that I am even a little intrigued about this book, however this is one that I don't think I shall be reading.

    Thanks for sharing and hosting and I hope that you enjoy the book, I shall look forward to reading your thoughts.


  5. Huh, the beginning is making me scratch my head. I'm trying to understand what it's going on.

  6. I wasn't expecting the narrator to be a dog...

  7. I'm glad you clarified that a bit as I was confused by it at first! Hope it's a good read.

  8. very curious, happy weekend :)

  9. I just discovered your book link party via a visitor to my site, so I hopped right over and joined with my book post for this week.

  10. I was really confused by your first line, too. I thought it might be a horror book.

    <a href=">Anne@HeadFullofBooks</a>


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