My wife Carolyn Johnson Lewis died much too young and before she could find a permanent home for a collection of stories now gathered into a book titled The Wolfkeeper.
Editor’s Note: The book launch for The Wolfkeeper by Carolyn Johnson Lewis (my sister) is scheduled for Sunday, July 28, 2019, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Peninsula Grill, 14091 Center Road on the Old Mission Peninsula. You may also buy the book or download it (free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers) on Amazon here. – jb
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Most of the stories contained in this collection have been published in various journals, which, while rewarding and noteworthy at the time, is ephemeral. Once the next issue of the particular journal appears with its new roster of writers and their works, that which was contained in the previous number begins the long slide into obscurity where only the most diligent searcher, with a fair amount of luck, can find it.
Carol’s work deserves a far better fate. When I take off my husband’s hat and put on that of a practicing writer myself, I long ago recognized the special quality of her work. Not that I was in danger of forgetting or downplaying that recognition, but I was reminded of it one evening when the dementia that would take Carol away from me had robbed her of so much, but when she retained the ability to process the spoken language, I was reading to her, as I sometimes did.
I had chosen “Wings to Follow,” one of her own stories, easily available as we had a copy of the journal in which it had appeared lying on a table nearby. I wanted to see how she would respond to hearing her own work. That she recognized, and responded to, her own words pleased both of us. But I was not ready for my own reaction when I finished reading the story, one I did not remember well, although it is likely I had read it at some stage of its composition.
When I came to its end, I looked over at Carol. “You nailed it,” I said. “You absolutely nailed it.”
I was expressing my admiration for the craft so obviously and beautifully executed to bring that story to a satisfying conclusion. Doing so, in my view, is the peak of the storyteller’s art, craft in the service of formidable talent.
Her disease prevented her from offering to the world more such wonderful reading experiences. This collection, at least, preserves and makes available between the cover of one volume, the stories that demonstrate ever so forcefully how great a loss her premature death is to the reading world.
About The Wolfkeeper
The Wolfkeeper immerses us into the harshness of northern Michigan winters, the wind howling, the waters surrounding the peninsula covered with ice beneath the swirling snow. They acquaint us with the flora and fauna from the cherry trees and morel mushrooms to wolves, lake trout and salmon.
We meet a diverse cast of characters who yet share one common feature: in one way or another, they are the underprivileged. Chief among them are the Native Americans with their storytelling, spirituality and connectedness to the natural world.
Then there are the strong women pushing back against a male dominated culture. Lewis’s prose is a formidable instrument. It can be poetic. Or darkly humorous. Or passionate in a compellingly understated way. This illustrated volume collects and preserves the work of this gifted writer.
“The ice heaved itself up like mountains rising, and the lighthouse rose, the length of a small pine branch one minute, the height of a large buck deer the next, some moments no more than the width of a small round stone. Through the spray of moonlight and the shifting of colors in the aurora borealis, the lighthouse shot up like buildings on reservations with loan money for casinos. Dark water drained off its green muddy sides, washed over the granite stone floor, ran over the still frozen rocks and thawed them, and down through the lake weed tangled at its base. It washed off the pale tower until we could all see the light in the lighthouse tower turning in slow, broad blinks.” – From “To Owe Death a Life”
About Carolyn Johnson Lewis
Carolyn Johnson Lewis received her Bachelor of Arts from New York University’s Gallatin Division, and her law degree from Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law School in New York.
She was a legal, scholarly, and literary editor, and an award-winning short story writer. Her stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Maxine Kumin, Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, guest editor of Kalliope; accepted into an anthology on rural writing by Fred Chappell, Poet Laureate of North Carolina; placed in the semifinals of the Pirate’s Alley William Faulkner Award; placed as a semifinalist in the Heekin Group Foundation’s Tara Fellowship in Short Fiction; placed as the lead story by Geraldine Sanford, guest editor of the South Dakota Review; noted by the Sycamore Review, Purdue University, as a unique new voice, in the Novel & Short Story Market; and was invited to be read on Interlochen Public Radio for the Michigan Writers Hour.
The Wolfkeeper Details
- THE WOLFKEEPER By Carolyn J. Lewis
- Illustrated by Tajín Robles
- MISSION POINT PRESS; 196 pages; illustrated; b/w; softcover 6 x 8.25 inches
- ISBN: 978-1-950659-12-8
- Price: $14.99
- For wholesale orders, visit MPPDistribution.com or call (231) 421-9513
- Also distributed by Ingram