Books

Boston.com Book Club’s next read is ‘The Northern Reach’ by W.S. Winslow

This is a novel dripping with the power of place.

Join the Boston.com Book Club Wednesday, June 30 at 6 p.m. for a virtual discussion with Print: A Bookstore‘s Stephanie Heinz and featured guest W.S. Winslow on her debut novel, “The Northern Reach.”

We’ve hit a bunch of points on the New England map in the first eight books of the Boston.com Book Club. But until now, we haven’t reached up to Maine. So for June, our main affair is going to be a Maine affair, as we read W.S. Winslow’s debut novel, “The Northern Reach.”

“The Northern Reach” is the most sweeping novel we’ve tackled to date, as the book darts back and forth between time periods, spanning more than a century. At the novel’s center are three families of the coastal town of Wellbridge, Maine — the Baineses, Martins, and Moodys. To be certain, their tales are not all happy ones. The families intertwine as they cobble together a living, and it’s never simple in this coastal town with long winters and glorious summers.

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Since we’re on the verge of what will hopefully be a glorious summer, it’s a great time for this read. While the book is a novel, it too is cobbled together. The New York Times calls it a “composite” novel, as it is 11 loosely connected stories, which is an interesting perspective that helps break up the text.

Publishers Weekly says that Winslow has “an ear for dry New England wit.” You’ll find that dry wit in moments like a mom dismayed at her daughter’s decision of who to marry, or a scene after a funeral where family members drunkenly dig up a recently buried body to put a lucky rabbit’s foot in the coffin; a scene that is partially narrated by the deceased.

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This is a novel dripping with the power of place. Author and Knopf executive editor John Freeman — who was the former editor of Granta and president of the National Book Critics Circle, and edited several collections, including the recently released “There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love,” with Tracy K. Smith — offers high praise of “The Northern Reach.” Freeman says, “If Johnny Cash had sung of New England, he might have envisioned these sweeping, haunted, hilarious and sad tales of WS Winslow’s…This is a devastating book by a major storyteller.”

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This is Winslow’s debut novel, and with the book she has fulfilled a dream of being published after she retired and her daughter was grown up. A ninth-generation Mainer, Winslow spent much of her working life in Boston, New York, and San Francisco, but is now back in Downeast Maine most of the year. Prior to the publication of “The Northern Reach,” Winslow’s work had appeared in Literary Hub and Electric Lit, among other places.

Joining Winslow for the live discussion will be Stephanie Heinz, a manager at Print: A Bookstore in Portland. Print will be celebrating its fifth anniversary this fall, and it has quickly become one of the model bookstores in the Northeast. Heinz is part of a six-person team that also includes Winslow’s daughter, Gracie, so this event will be some real down(east) home cookin’! We can’t wait.


Join our virtual Book Club discussion

Join the Boston.com Book Club Wednesday, June 30 at 6 p.m. for a virtual discussion with Print: A Bookstore‘s Stephanie Heinz and featured guest W.S. Winslow on her debut novel, “The Northern Reach.”

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Buy “The Northern Reach” from: Bookshop | Print: A Bookstore 

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