STONY KILL by Marie White Small
In this unusual and heartbreaking love story to family, tragedy, and reconciliation, Joss Ryckman, a thirty something Brooklyn baker returns to her upstate roots along a river called Stony Kill. In the Italianate house of her childhood, Joss is flooded with memories of childhood play and haunting mysteries. There, Joss reconnects with the only person who can help unravel the past—her long ago nanny, Miss Euphrates.
Miss Euphrates, a storyteller and compass to both past and future, helps Joss not only deal with her difficult father and her guy who wants a more permanent commitment, but also paves the way to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Steeped in beautiful language and characters that are nuanced and lifelike, Stony Kill leaves readers imaging they, too, are standing in the Joss’s childhood tree house on a winter morning. There, Joss launches paper airplanes out onto the frozen river below, and discovers answers to old haunting mysteries that will change her life.
From Publishers Weekly
In Small’s sprawling, evocative debut, Joss Ellen Ryckman stops running from her past and, after the death of her mother, returns to her childhood farm in upstate New York. . . The winding narrative follows Joss coming to terms with her own agency and realizing that the past doesn’t necessarily determine the future. . . This deeply expressive book is a fine exploration of personal history and the significance of place as a means of finding oneself. (Oct.)
“I was already familiar with Marie White Small ‘ s ability to draw kind, loving, ethereal characters like Joss and Miss Euphrates. How startling to mix in someone like Paul, someplace like Berkshire County, something like the death of innocents. Lyrical language pulls you through a story with a fearful ending–except there are not only ice and crows there, but a river and sailplanes, too–that teaches us to love our lives as they are.” Amazon Customer, March 19, 2016
“Marie White Small imbues her story with the atmosphere and tastes of an East Coast rural upbringing. She brings us into the life of Joss as she comes to terms with complex feelings of sadness, guilt and acceptance. A very fine and thought provoking novel.” Amazon Customer, March 30, 2016
“A wonderful gem of a novel I could not put down! Intertwined with dark family issues was beautiful prose of baking, and of the Stony Kill. Wonderful writing.” Amazon Customer, March 29, 2016
“I read this book about six months ago, and it passed the “think about it often” test. The characters quietly get under your skin and their memories and experiences feel like they could be your own. Nice read.” March 4, 2017