Remarkable book combines a strong sense of place with poignant family drama

Each day leading up to the April 14 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2012 Novel & Short Story Finalist:

In Caddis Wood
Mary François Rockcastle

Graywolf Press

Category Sponsor: Anchor Trust


As a debilitating illness and the specter of an affair conspire against Hallie and Carl Fens’ marriage, the couple’s family gathers at their summer house in the woods of Wisconsin. There, Hallie and Carl’s grown-up daughters offer unexpected avenues toward forgiveness and healing.

An excerpt from In Caddis Wood:

Carl sits upright in bed and gazes into the furry dark. Something hot and galloping in the room, black walls leaping like a Tilt-A-Whirl, the steady thump of his heart. Terror. Not from a dream, either. Hallie sighs and turns into his arm. There is a stirring in the corner behind the glass door, and he remembers a similar movement that afternoon while he was weeding in the garden. A motion as of a bird startled, jarred into flight. Read more>>


Mary François Rockcastle is the director of Creative Writing Programs at Hamline University, and founding and executive director of Water-Stone Review. She is also the author of the novel Rainy Lake.


“The problem with life, as a story, is how mundane it tends to be, each individual experiencing great drama and exquisite emotion in the moments that most others – most readers – might find rather matter-of-fact, everyday. It is Mary François Rockcastle’s remarkable accomplishment to find in those everyday occurrences a story of great moment – the sort of drama that defines and marks most of our lives, however ‘average.’”
– Star Tribune

“Emotionally wrenching; worth reading twice, if not three times.”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge.

“Elegiac and poignant, Rockcastle’s indelible portrait of a fragile yet enduring relationship teems with shimmering images, reflecting the solace and wisdom to be found in nature.”
– Booklist


Award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel – Saint Paul Riverfront. The opening reception begins at 7 p.m. followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. New this year: a post-awards “Epilogue Celebration.” Tickets are available online or by calling 651-222-3242. Click here for more information.

Have you read In Caddis Wood? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!


Mary François Rockcastle is on Facebook.

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