Scott Russell Sanders
Scott's new novel, Divine Animal, is now available as a free e-book. See below for downloads.
A wound may be inflicted in a heartbeat—from an explosion, accident, or cruel act—but healing, if it comes at all, comes slowly.
Divine Animal is a story of healing, traced through the lives of characters bound together by a secret trauma. There is young Harlan, whose search for a path to manhood leads him from Ohio to a mountainside farm in Vermont, where he meets Katarina, a Swedish au pair who has come to America to perfect her English. There is Aurora, a teenage runaway who takes refuge in upstate New York, waiting tables and dodging questions. In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, there is Teresa Two Bears, an elderly Ojibwa woman whose son died aboard a Navy ship, and in the same port on Lake Superior is Naomi Rosenthal, a physician haunted by the photo of a woman grieving at a soldier’s grave in Arlington Cemetery, near where Naomi’s own brother, killed by a landmine in Vietnam, lies buried. There is folk singer Jack Haymaker, who lost his parents in a landslide near his home in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, and now travels the country performing his songs, lifting spirits and facing down grief. And in the hill country of southern Indiana, there is Martin Zakar, an architect who restores derelict buildings, a man drawn by a thread of memory toward an elusive woman whose secret unites all of these seemingly separate lives.
From the "Author's Note" to Divine Animal:
Within the span of my writing life, the book as a physical artifact made of ink on paper has been gradually supplanted—some would say, doomed to extinction—by the book as a digital file readable on various electronic devices. While I love books printed on paper, and will continue reading them by preference as long as I live, before publishing Divine Animal in this traditional form, I wanted to experiment first with an e-book version that I would be able to give away.
Why give it away? The practical reason is that I earn my living by teaching, not by selling books. In writing Divine Animal, I did not set out to produce a commodity for sale; I set out to tell a story, to inhabit the lives of characters who had captured my imagination, to reflect on how things fall apart and how they might be mended. Of course it is perfectly honorable to earn one’s living by writing. But that was never my ambition, nor would it have been a realistic one, given my subjects and concerns and style. A deeper reason for giving away the e-book version is to make a small return to the cultural commons, that indispensable source for all creative work, including my own—the commons of language, literature, libraries, schools and colleges, the arts and sciences and all forms of knowledge, as well as countless conversations with fellow seekers and makers.
Other title by Scott Russell Sanders (click cover for details):
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