Trees Call for What They Need

by Melissa Kwasny

This is the ebb and flow of an old woman’s recollections of her Indiana town and her friends. Nettie is a natural cynic, trusting neither weather forecasters nor religion despite knowing Till, a childhood companion who became a quasi spiritualist making her living talking to ghosts and then encouraging Nettie’s daughter and granddaughter to follow in her footsteps. One of 14 children, Nettie drops out of school after her mother’s death to take a job in a hotel kitchen. There she meets Polish immigrant Marie, a strong, independent woman who works like a man, doesn’t take guff from anybody, speaks wondrously fractured English, and becomes Nettie’s lifelong friend. Other characters include Till’s partner Fritzie, a lesbian before such names were spoken; Marie’s bewildered husband; and Nettie’s mate, Art, who heals animals by the laying on of hands. The years diminish the trees and the quality of life in the town but never the spirit of its inhabitants. An ingenuous novel that captures you in its current and never makes you regret the ride. Marie Kuda



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