OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “BIG IN JAPAN,” BY JENNIFER GRIFFITH, “SECRET FIRE,” BY DENNIS YOUNG AND “WAR WV,” BY MICHAEL ABRAHAM , CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MARCH 29-APRIL 4
In their own way, each of the books being featured this week are about war.
Danielle A. Dahl’s memoir, “Sirocco,” is subtitled “A French Girl Comes of Age in War-Torn Algeria.”
In “My Dear Wife and Children,” Nick K. Adams gives us poignant and sharply detailed letters from a Civil War soldier to his family back in Minnesota.
Finally, Tricia Bauer’s gripping “Father Flashes” paints a searing portrait of a man at war with himself, and the disease that is slowly overtaking his mind.
“SIROCCO,” BY DANIELLE A. DAHL
“Writing Sirocco,” says Danielle, “was not an idea that suddenly popped out of nowhere, but a growing need to tell the stories of my growing up with my brothers and sisters, of our adventures and misadventures. A need to paint the breathtaking vistas of the land of my birth, share the uniqueness of its people, and recount the life of a French girl coming of age in a country torn by a war of independence
“Sirocco is the searing wind that, in season, blows howling sand from the Sahara desert, scouring the landscapes of North Africa. It is presaged by grandiose fiery sunsets. Fire that reflects the convictions, spirit, and pride of the men and women who struggled to keep the land their ancestors won through sacrifices and hard work.”
“MY DEAR WIFE AND CHILDREN,” BY NICK K. ADAMS
What does a father write to his wife and young children when he’s gone to war? Does he explain why he left them? How does he answer their constant questions about his return? Which of his experiences does he relate, and which does he pass over? Should he describe his feelings of separation and loneliness?
These questions are as relevant today as they were over 150 years ago, when David Brainard Griffin, a corporal in Company F of the 2nd Minnesota Regiment of Volunteers, wrote to those he left behind on the family’s Minnesota prairie homestead while he fought to preserve the Union.
His letters cover the period from his enlistment at Minnesota’s Fort Snelling in September 1861, to his death in Georgia during the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. One hundred of them were preserved and passed down in his family. They, along with one from his daughter as she asked the next generation to read her father’s words, have been carefully transcribed and annotated by a great-great-grandson, Nick K. Adams, allowing further generations to experience Griffin’s answers to these questions.
Filled with poignant images of his daily activities, his fears and exhilarations in military conflict, and his thoughts and emotions as the Civil War kept him apart from his family, these letters offer a fascinating insight into the personal experiences of a common soldier in the American Civil War.
“FATHER FLASHES,” BY TRICIA BAUER
The winner of the inaugural Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction, Father Flashes re-imagines what the novel can be or do. Composed of stunning vignettes that capture the deterioration of a father’s mind and body, this novel provides poetic insight into the complex workings of a father-daughter relationship.
Adds Tricia: “This book, though short in length, took quite a long time to write. Inititially, I wrote the book as poems, but it wasn’t until I transposed these pieces into prose that I found the freedom to lengthen the lines and sometimes to depart from the poems’ intrinsic music. This work cuts pretty close to the bone. The writing of my father’s disappearance was cathartic, but it was emotionally difficult to process and then to get down on paper. I could only work in brief stints, thus the brevity — and the density.”