A lovely, funny, and delicious read.
A bittersweet, seriously funny novel of a life, a small town, and a key to our troubled times traced through a newspaper columnist’s half-century of taking in, and taking on, the world
The curmudgeon who wrote the column “Ramblin’s by Walt” in the Granite Creek Gazette dismissed his successor as “puking on paper.” But when Haze Evans first appeared in the small-town newspaper, she earned fans by writing a story about her bachelor uncle who brought a Queen of the Rodeo to Thanksgiving dinner. Now, fifty years later, when the beloved columnist suffers a massive stroke and falls into a coma, publisher Susan McGrath fills the void (temporarily, she hopes) with Haze’s past columns, along with the occasional reprinted responses from readers. Most letters were favorable, although Haze did have her trolls; one Joseph Snell in particular dubbed her “liberal” ideas the “chronicles of a radical hag.” Never censoring herself, Haze chose to mollify her critics with homey recipes—recognizing, in her constantly practical approach to the world and her community, that buttery Almond Crescents will certainly “melt away any misdirected anger.”
Framed by news stories of half a century and annotated with the town’s chorus of voices, Haze’s story unfolds, as do those of others touched by the Granite Creek Gazette, including Susan, struggling with her troubled marriage, and her teenage son Sam, who—much to his surprise—enjoys his summer job reading the paper archives and discovers secrets that have been locked in the files for decades, along with sad and surprising truths about Haze’s past.
With her customary warmth and wit, Lorna Landvik summons a lifetime at once lost and recovered, a complicated past that speaks with knowing eloquence to a confused present. Her topical but timeless Chronicles of a Radical Hag reminds us—sometimes with a subtle touch, sometimes with gobsmacking humor—of the power of words and of silence, as well as the wonder of finding in each other what we never even knew we were missing.
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Expected Publication Date: March.26.2019
*Thank you BookishFirst for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*
Haze Evans is a seasoned newspaper columnist who has a stroke and falls into a coma. The paper she works for decides to re-run some of her older columns from her illustrious decades-long career, until Haze is able to return to her job.
Haze’s columns are thought-provoking. She has a way of bringing a big picture topic into focus. Politics, health, friendship, love, and so many other things are discussed in her work. And as she lays in a coma, her words are able to gap the divide between a mother and her teenage son, and many more relationships.
There was something so heartwarming about this book. I enjoyed getting to know Haze through her writing. The topics she wrote about were topical and extremely fascinating.
A wonderful book. With lots of yummy recipes inside! Plus, look at that gorgeous cover!
RECOMMEND? Yes! It’s a delightful read!