Wintering; Peter Geye
Knopf and Blackstone Audio
Suzanne Toren (narrator)
Wintering begins in the fictional town of Gunflint, MN, on the shores of Lake Superior. Harry Eide is a man suffering from dementia. His mind takes him back to an earlier time when he and his young son Gus left home for the wilderness. At the time Harry was fleeing a bad marriage. This time however, it's the middle of the night and the dead of winter and Harry is not the man he was 30 years earlier. He leaves his home and is never heard from again.
The story is told in both time periods. As Gus visits Berit Loving, Harry's lover for several decades, to tell her about his father's disappearance, we learn about the dangerous adventures of father and son 30 years earlier as they traveled by canoe, in freezing conditions exploring the wilderness the way the French voyagers did long before them.
I enjoyed this audio and I couldn't imagine anyone living through such harsh conditions as Harry and Gus. I liked the part of the story told by Berit, flashing back to her relationship with Harry and also learning the secrets and backstory of some of the people of Gunflint, including Harry's own grandmother who Berit had cared for.
For me, this novel was all about the atmosphere, the desolate snow covered wilderness. It's a rather slow, reflective story but, one that was well executed. This is my first time reading this author but, I will definitely consider other books by him in the future.