When Willow is born and her mother dies moments later, only the narrator of this spellbinding debut novel knows the death isn't from complications of childbirth. Amelie-Anais, buried on the Nebraska hilltop where the family home resides, tells the story of deceit, survival, and love from beyond the grave. Following Willow's life and Willow's incredible passion to paint despite loneliness, a physical handicap, and being raised by a father plagued with secrets, Amelie-Anais weaves together the lives of four enigmatic generations.
Margaret Lukas taught at the University of Nebraska@ Omaha in the Writers Workshop for over a decade. She received her BFA in 2004 and her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington. She has been a contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine and an editor for the quarterly literary journal, Fine Lines. Her writing appears online and in a number of anthologies. Her award-winning short story, “The Yellow Bird,” was made into a short film and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. She is a recipient of a 2009 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist fellowship. Farthest House is her first novel. River People is scheduled for release February 2019.
This passage reminds me of a passage in Frantumaglia by Elena Ferrante: "It's a shortcut to set aside what is formidable about women, to imagine us merely as organisms with good feelings, skilled masters of gentility. Maybe that's useful for encouraging us, for political growth, but those who create literature have to make hostility, aversion, and fury visible, along with generous sentiments. It's their task, they have to dig inside, describe women from close up..."
Again, my blood coursed hot and wild. This Beast deserved exactly what he received. I wanted to kill him again for what he’d done and the trouble his death was causing and would cause. He could not be dead enough, didn’t deserve the respite of death. I’d count coup on him, just as Thomas told stories of Indians counting coup on their dead enemies. The act was symbolic, but I needed to beat him, somehow, to be a participant. Only a few yards away, a sapling had recently been planted and still had a supporting stake. I pulled the stake from the ground and struck the body—dull thwacks—until the thin plank in my angry hands broke and was but a few worthless inches of stick. “I’ll cut off his twisted-up root,” I screamed, “he won’t have it for any afterlife.”