From the Publisher:
Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since. When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other.
Meanwhile, Noah’s own struggle to make a life with an absent father has found its real reward in his relationship with his sagacious wife, Natalie, whose complications with infertility issues have marked her husband’s life in ways he only fully realizes as the reconciliation with his father takes shape.
Peter Geye has delivered an archetypal story of a father and son, of the tug and pull of family bonds, of Norwegian immigrant culture, of dramatic shipwrecks and the business and adventure of Great Lakes shipping in a setting that simply casts a spell over the characters as well as the reader.
An astonishingly moving debut novel, Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye explores the relationship between father and son. Geye describes Lake Superior as well as the surrounding areas in astonishingly beautiful and vivid detail. Geye writes of Norwegian immigrant Olaf Torr, one of only a few survivors of the sinking of the Ragnarok, an iron ore boat off the shores of Lake Superior. This event was a catalyst forever altering the lives of Olaf and his children Solveig and Noah. As Noah heads to the cabin where his estranged father is dying, he worries about the past as well as the present and future with his wife Natalie. Safe From the Sea, while a relatively short book, is rich in deep issues, giving the reader pause to contemplate each decision, indecision and the ramifications of action or inaction. Covering some very intense topics, Geye guides the reader through serene Northern Minnesota, taking me back to my childhood summers spent there. Safe from the Sea is filled with intense emotions and these are often described through scenes and descriptions. Sometimes there just are no words to adequately suffice, other times, especially with Noah, his short clipped statements speak volumes. Hailing from Minnesota, I do not know of many older than myself who do not speak in the manner of Olaf, so it was a comfort to me and brought me back home. Time flew by as I read Geye’s debut novel and I believe he is definitely an author to be watching for more great works. I highly recommend Safe from the Sea to all readers.
Peter Geye received his MFA from the University of New Orleans and his PHD from Western Michigan University, where he was editor of Third Coast. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and continues to live there with his wife and three children. This is his first novel.
I received a complimentary copy of Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye from Unbridled Books. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.