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Winter Degrees by John Smolens

Winter

Degrees by John Smolens

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 About the Book 

What holds our attention is the rich atmosphere, the chill desolation of a shore town in midwinter. John Smolens knows his territory, social as well as geographical and proves it in his first novel.--Boston Sunday GlobeIn historic Newburyport,MoreWhat holds our attention is the rich atmosphere, the chill desolation of a shore town in midwinter. John Smolens knows his territory, social as well as geographical and proves it in his first novel.--Boston Sunday GlobeIn historic Newburyport, Massachusetts, the swift tidal currents of the Merrimack River are as treacherous as they are beautiful. When an unidentified man drowns on a bleak winter’s day, the event inspires fear and anger—but it also unites Newburyporters, reminding them that living hard by the sea requires uncommon fortitude and endurance.When Iver Smyth, a man reputed for his drinking, gambling, and scandalous affairs, disappears, his eccentric family shows a curious disinterest as locals speculate that it is his body that has broken through the river ice and been swept out to sea. Yet others—wives, lovers, children, and a stranger who is intent on collecting overdue debts—are determined to find out whether Smyth is dead or alive, and whether this was an unfortunate accident, an artful deception, a suicide, or, perhaps, an act of cold-blooded vengeance.Nelson Rideout, who worked on a restoration site with Iver the day of his disappearance, has his own reasons for seeking the truth, particularly when he learns that his dissolute brother, affectionately known as Tuna, harbors troubling secrets regarding the missing man. To discover the tragic significance of this drowning, Nelson must confront long-held loyalties, his failed marriage and splintered family, and the realization that there is nothing more important—or dangerous—than a grown man trying to prove his own worth.“At the center of this taut novel is a young carpenter’s search for moral certainty, in matters of work and love and commitment, in modern America, where such quests are an ordeal. The story is suspenseful, exciting, tender, often humorous, and, above all, significant. John Smolens is a wise and seasoned voice.” —Andre Dubus“One of the fine characteristic of this novel is its poignant evocation of place. John Smolens has given us the urban life with its clannish family associations, neighborhood and class loyalties so faithfully and fiercely rendered, we can no longer believe these dynamics only operate in rural backwaters. And Nelson, was a vulnerable and human Virgil he is.” —John YountDelivers gritty dialogue and earthy atmosphere.--Kirkus