A literary thriller that muses on loss and memory in northern Minnesota

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'Wintering' by Peter Geye
'Wintering' by Peter Geye
Courtesy of Knopf

When the elderly Harry Eide disappears from his bed in northern Minnesota, he leaves behind only a set of tracks headed to the river. Between the brutal winter weather and Harry's frail state, the missing man is pronounced dead.

His absence unlocks a story his grown son Gus had long held secret: Thirty years before, the pair had pulled a similar disappearing act into the woods. Then, in 1963, Harry had fled his failing marriage and taken his then-teenage son with him, through the ice floes and portages and an abandoned cabin.

With Harry gone, Gus finally shares this story with Berit Lovig, who spent decades in love with Harry, waiting for him to return.

Richard Russo wrote of the book: "The last time I read a literary thriller so profound Cormac McCarthy's name was on its spine."

Peter Geye's novel of wilderness and family and loss winds through the cold beauty of northern Minnesota. Geye joined MPR News host Kerri Miller to talk about his novel and the power of memory.

"The ephemeral natures of our memories is one of the big themes in this book," Geye said. "Our relationships with our parents, our siblings, the people we love, our children; it's constantly evolving. In that evolution, it seems to me, we lose a lot. We gain a lot by what we add to it, but we lose a lot by what we just can't remember."

For the full conversation with Peter Geye on "Wintering," use the audio player above. This interview is part of our Take it to the Lake summer fiction series. Find the full list on The Thread.

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