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The Net Beneath Us: A Novel Paperback – Aug. 8 2023
In her debut novel, Carol Dunbar draws from her own lived experiences, vividly describing the wonder and harshness of life off the grid. Told over the course of a year, The Net Beneath Us is a lyrical exploration of loss, marriage, parenthood, and self-reliance; a tale of how the natural world―without and within us―offers us healing, if we can learn where to look.
“Dunbar delivers both a tumble through the shifting light of grief, and a forgiving forest floor on which to land.”
―Leif Enger, New York Times bestselling author of Peace Like a River and Virgil Wander
He promised her he would never let go. She’s willing to risk everything to hold on.
In the aftermath of her husband’s logging accident, Elsa has more questions than answers about how to carry on while caring for their two small children in the unfinished house he was building for them in the woods of rural Wisconsin. To cope with the challenges of winter and the near-daily miscommunications from her in-laws, she forges her own relationship with the land, learning from and taking comfort in the trees her husband had so loved. If she wants to stay in their home, she must discover her own capabilities, and accept help from the people and places she least expects.
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About the Author
- Publisher : Forge Books (Aug. 8 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 125082687X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250826879
- Item weight : 454 g
- Dimensions : 13.67 x 2.54 x 20.96 cm
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from other countries
Elsa lives with her husband, Silas Arnasson, and their two children, Hester, a first grader, and Finn, a toddler, in rural northern Wisconsin. They live in the basement of their future house, which they continue to build as time and money allow. Life in the woods is challenging. Weather and wildlife present difficulties as they build, haul water, and maintain a generator for electricity. But Elsa and Silas are partners, working together to achieve their dreams. They are happy and very much in love. Then everything changes.
Silas has a devastating logging accident. Elsa is determined to keep her family warm and safe during the approaching winter in a home without running water, central heat, or electricity, a home without Silas to help. Shrouded in grief, she isolates herself and her children from family and friends. She rebuffs help from Silas’s family, believing they already see her as incompetent and because they had envisioned another type of woman for Silas.
People experience loss uniquely, making it hard to understand each other’s grief. Family members overwhelmed by their own sorrow, struggle to comfort each other. Dunbar’s use of multiple points of view allows us to experience, firsthand, the heartache of Elsa, Hester, and Ethan and Luvera, Silas’s uncle and aunt. Additionally, Dunbar’s novel explores our need for self-acceptance and acceptance by others; and our wish to belong to a place, the land, a community.
Loss and grief are somber themes and make for heavy reading. But Dunbar’s use of beautiful imagery, sustained metaphor, and lyrical prose gives us hope as she guides us through a heartbreaking story, transporting us with her exquisite writing through darkness to a place of better understanding of both her characters and ourselves.
Sinclair Lewis said, “People read fiction for emotion—not information.” With The Net Beneath Us, Dunbar underscores the power of fiction as she draws us into an emotional story of loss, grief, forgiveness, and understanding, immersing us in a world of human nature that nonfiction cannot match. And, even though Dunbar’s story is fiction, it rings with truth.
I can't recommend this enough!
Do you ever wonder what the characters are doing after you are done reading the book? The people in this novel are so real, I think ofter about how they are getting along.