In her poignant debut novel, Iron Range native Kathleen Novak entices Minnesotans with cues of home. Set alternately on the tranquil shores of northern Minnesota’s Lost Lake and the buzzing streets of 1960s New York City, her story bores deeply into the complexities of family and the often unfulfilling pursuit of love.
Meg Paulo has just lost her father, known affectionately as Gigi, who had lived alone for years in his lakeside cabin. Meg arrives from the Twin Cities to close up the cabin and put the old man to rest. As she tenderly sorts through family relics and Gigi’s finely kept tools, beloved fishing gear and personal papers, she finds a note, smudged from years of handling, with no addressee and no signature. It reads simply, “Do not find me.”
Meg yearns to learn who wrote the mysterious note and what secrets it holds about her father. As we look back on his life, local readers will find references to Hibbing native son Bob Dylan during his breakout years at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village, and to the Edmund Fitzgerald’s tragedy on Lake Superior; nods to the kind and practical Minnesota nature that imbues the characters, and, most abundantly, Gigi’s near-religious reverence for fishing that serves as a metaphor for how to live one’s life: “the cycle of water to ice to water” that defines him.
It’s a suspenseful and gracefully told tale that will demand a loyal audience and surely get this Twin Cities writer noticed.
Ginny Greene is a copy editor at the Star Tribune.
Do Not Find Me
By: Kathleen Novak.
Publisher: The Permanent Press, 183 pages, $28.
Events: 6:30 p.m. March 28, St. Anthony Library, 2941 NE Pentagon Dr., St. Anthony.