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Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a girl. Seeing his life is at risk, his friend takes him to his uncle, a pipe carrier of the Odawa tribe, who tells him he must live by the shores of Lake Michigan until the lake speaks to him. Peter lives and loves and rages by the shores of the great lake, haunted by its rich beauty, by strange images and sounds that begin to pursue him through his waking and sleeping hours, and by the spirit of the dead girl, who seems to be trying to help him. One day, he finally finds an inner silence. And then, he hears what the lake has to say to him. A story about reconnecting with the source of your life and your joy, Music of Sacred Lakes gives voice to the spirit of the land and lakes that gave birth to us all. With this second and astonishingly sophisticated novel, Dreaming Novelist Laura K. Cowan cements her reputation as one of the most imaginative new American Fabulists, a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction in the line of Alice Hoffman, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Paulo Coelho, but characterized by an electric mix of lyrical language, an evocative sense of place, and quick-moving narrative that harkens back to a time when literary fiction was served up raw and ghost stories weren’t told for their sad and scary parts.


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Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a Peter Sanskevicz doesn’t belong anywhere. He doesn’t want the sixth-generation family farm his great great-grandfather unwittingly stole from its Odawa owners, and can’t continue his jobs serving “fudgies,” tourists in Northern Michigan who seem more at home than he is. He can’t seem to take charge of things or do anything but make a mess. Then, Peter accidentally kills a girl. Seeing his life is at risk, his friend takes him to his uncle, a pipe carrier of the Odawa tribe, who tells him he must live by the shores of Lake Michigan until the lake speaks to him. Peter lives and loves and rages by the shores of the great lake, haunted by its rich beauty, by strange images and sounds that begin to pursue him through his waking and sleeping hours, and by the spirit of the dead girl, who seems to be trying to help him. One day, he finally finds an inner silence. And then, he hears what the lake has to say to him. A story about reconnecting with the source of your life and your joy, Music of Sacred Lakes gives voice to the spirit of the land and lakes that gave birth to us all. With this second and astonishingly sophisticated novel, Dreaming Novelist Laura K. Cowan cements her reputation as one of the most imaginative new American Fabulists, a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction in the line of Alice Hoffman, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Paulo Coelho, but characterized by an electric mix of lyrical language, an evocative sense of place, and quick-moving narrative that harkens back to a time when literary fiction was served up raw and ghost stories weren’t told for their sad and scary parts.

30 review for Music of Sacred Lakes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Steven Donahue

    A man pays his penance after his carelessness leads to the death of a young girl in Laura K. Cowan’s tender story Music of Sacred Lakes. Restless Peter Sanskevicz has left his family farm in East Jordan, MI, to find his own way in life. But an automobile accident caused by his inattention leaves him injured, unemployed and forced to return to his family’s home. There he must rehab and face the demons that have plagued his life, along with new legal issues stemming from the accident. His journey A man pays his penance after his carelessness leads to the death of a young girl in Laura K. Cowan’s tender story Music of Sacred Lakes. Restless Peter Sanskevicz has left his family farm in East Jordan, MI, to find his own way in life. But an automobile accident caused by his inattention leaves him injured, unemployed and forced to return to his family’s home. There he must rehab and face the demons that have plagued his life, along with new legal issues stemming from the accident. His journey will test his physical and emotional stamina as he tries to rebuild his life. Cowan offers an intriguing story of redemption with vivid images of life in Northern Michigan. Her crisp style makes this an easy book to read and an enjoyable profile of one man’s quest for salvation.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Brooks

    This is the latest in my series of reviews of books by members of the Magic Realism Facebook Group and it shows what an interesting bunch we are. The Goodreads description goes on to describe Laura as an American Fabulist and a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction. I confess I am not much up on these sub-genres and American fabulism was new to me. Now despite a bit of online searching I am not much wiser, indeed the definitions of fabulism I fo This is the latest in my series of reviews of books by members of the Magic Realism Facebook Group and it shows what an interesting bunch we are. The Goodreads description goes on to describe Laura as an American Fabulist and a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction. I confess I am not much up on these sub-genres and American fabulism was new to me. Now despite a bit of online searching I am not much wiser, indeed the definitions of fabulism I found suggested that it was just another word for magic realism. Ah well, let's leave that there. I am sure someone out there would like to put me right. The spiritual element in the book is well to the fore. The young man at the centre of the novel is lost spiritually and his journey of spiritual discovery is the subject of the story. There is a lot of frustrated anger on his part, as he hits out literally and verbally. He finds himself through listening to the lake, as the old pipe carrier instructed him. The other instructor in Peter's transformation is the dead girl who comes to him in dreams and tells hims that It's okay.... It's all lake. As if to emphasize this the girl's name is Marissa (meaning: of the sea). At about the same time as I was reading this book I was also reading Living With A Wild God: A Non-believer's Search for the Truth About Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich. In the latter book the author recounts her experience of the wild god - the Other - manifesting itself through nature. Ehrenreich is an atheist but a mystical one. The Christian mysticism which Laura Cowan describes in this book is very similar. It requires a sublimation of the self in the whole, symbolized by the lake but actually meaning all of nature - it's all lake. It is interesting that Cowan feels it necessary to use the native American intermediary and his traditional beliefs to help Peter discover or rediscover the wild god. I was having an interesting conversation with a fellow writer the other day over a coffee. She said that she had seen a rise in the number of young authors writing magic realism. We agreed that one for reason for this is that in this agnostic, even atheist, world many people are looking for magic, for something unexplained and unpredictable. I argued that for many people the "realist" approach is two-dimensional and excludes some of the most important experiences in people's lives. Some theists would argue that magic realism is an inappropriate description for books featuring Christian or other religious beliefs, but I have no problem with it and I think Music of Sacred Lakes is a good example of why magic realism and Christian mysticism sit well together. In a way not much actually happens in the novel - the turmoil is almost entirely internal. There is the presence of two very different young women who in different ways are attracted to Peter and are attractive to him. However the writer does not make too much of this area of potential tension. Personally I would have liked to have seen more made of the relationships, if only in the way the two girls impact on Peter's awakening. The writing is positively poetic at times, but also tends to be a bit repetitive. This is a book which you should allow to wash over you - rather like Peter's lake in fact - and you may well find yourself pondering the profound. This review first appeared on the Magic Realism Books Blog, where I review a magic realism book a week.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Brooks

    The Goodreads description goes on to describe Laura as an American Fabulist and a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction. I confess I am not much up on these sub-genres and American fabulism was new to me. Now despite a bit of online searching I am not much wiser, indeed the definitions of fabulism I found suggested that it was just another word for magic realism. Ah well, let's leave that there. I am sure someone out there would like to put me ri The Goodreads description goes on to describe Laura as an American Fabulist and a writer of spiritually-oriented magical realism, literary fantasy, and visionary fiction. I confess I am not much up on these sub-genres and American fabulism was new to me. Now despite a bit of online searching I am not much wiser, indeed the definitions of fabulism I found suggested that it was just another word for magic realism. Ah well, let's leave that there. I am sure someone out there would like to put me right. The spiritual element in the book is well to the fore. The young man at the centre of the novel is lost spiritually and his journey of spiritual discovery is the subject of the story. There is a lot of frustrated anger on his part, as he hits out literally and verbally. He finds himself through listening to the lake, as the old pipe carrier instructed him. The other instructor in Peter's transformation is the dead girl who comes to him in dreams and tells hims that It's okay.... It's all lake. As if to emphasize this the girl's name is Marissa (meaning: of the sea). At about the same time as I was reading this book I was also reading Living With A Wild God: A Non-believer's Search for the Truth About Everything by Barbara Ehrenreich. In the latter book the author recounts her experience of the wild god - the Other - manifesting itself through nature. Ehrenreich is an atheist but a mystical one. The Christian mysticism which Laura Cowan describes in this book is very similar. It requires a sublimation of the self in the whole, symbolized by the lake but actually meaning all of nature - it's all lake. It is interesting that Cowan feels it necessary to use the native American intermediary and his traditional beliefs to help Peter discover or rediscover the wild god. I was having an interesting conversation with a fellow writer the other day over a coffee. She said that she had seen a rise in the number of young authors writing magic realism. We agreed that one for reason for this is that in this agnostic, even atheist, world many people are looking for magic, for something unexplained and unpredictable. I argued that for many people the "realist" approach is two-dimensional and excludes some of the most important experiences in people's lives. Some theists would argue that magic realism is an inappropriate description for books featuring Christian or other religious beliefs, but I have no problem with it and I think Music of Sacred Lakes is a good example of why magic realism and Christian mysticism sit well together. In a way not much actually happens in the novel - the turmoil is almost entirely internal. There is the presence of two very different young women who in different ways are attracted to Peter and are attractive to him. However the writer does not make too much of this area of potential tension. Personally I would have liked to have seen more made of the relationships, if only in the way the two girls impact on Peter's awakening. The writing is positively poetic at times, but also tends to be a bit repetitive. This is a book which you should allow to wash over you - rather like Peter's lake in fact - and you may well find yourself pondering the profound.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Laura K. Cowan ("The Little Seer") brings her knowledge of Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan to this gently told, magical novel about the profound interactions of a highly conflicted character with the place where he lives. For six generations the Sanskevicz family has farmed land once occupied by the Odawa and Ojibwe tribes. Peter doesn't want the farm, firmly believing that the summer tourists have more resonance for this quiet world than he does. At odds with his family--and perhaps wit Laura K. Cowan ("The Little Seer") brings her knowledge of Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan to this gently told, magical novel about the profound interactions of a highly conflicted character with the place where he lives. For six generations the Sanskevicz family has farmed land once occupied by the Odawa and Ojibwe tribes. Peter doesn't want the farm, firmly believing that the summer tourists have more resonance for this quiet world than he does. At odds with his family--and perhaps with almost everyone else--Peter drifts through life until a traffic accident alters his psyche and his future. The young woman in the other vehicle is killed. Likely to be found negligent, Peter must confront the realities of prison time and, worse yet, himself. An Odawa pipe carrier says that before his court date arrives, Peter must live in solitude until the lake speaks to him and he finds his redemption. This prescription doesn't sit well. A lake shore cabin is the last place he wants to be and, as for redemption, he's not sure he wants that either. In Music of the Sacred Lakes, a young man filled with one-dimensional rage clashes with the multidimensional world of dunes, forests, water, indigenous culture beliefs and the ghost of the woman he killed. Cowan's lyrical prose captures Little Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan and her well-crafted plot engages readers with Peter's seemingly hopeless story. One reads on and cannot help but hope that the lake will speak and that Peter will hear it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Stephen R. Marriott

    Music of Sacred Lakes not only really moved me but resonated with me. It's a story of isolation and trying to find meaning among the seemingly meaningless and finding one's place in the world. Something that is not so easy for everyone. Laura takes the reader expertly into this world of inner conflict but gradually guides her character to hope and resolve as the wider world speaks to Peter. It's very powerful stuff and I was sucked into Peter's journey from the opening sentences. Not only are the Music of Sacred Lakes not only really moved me but resonated with me. It's a story of isolation and trying to find meaning among the seemingly meaningless and finding one's place in the world. Something that is not so easy for everyone. Laura takes the reader expertly into this world of inner conflict but gradually guides her character to hope and resolve as the wider world speaks to Peter. It's very powerful stuff and I was sucked into Peter's journey from the opening sentences. Not only are the characters real but so is the world which Laura creates, a world where its more subtle charms and beauty rekindle the senses. I was inspired and taught the valuable lesson of taking things more slowly in order to breath and see. I don't think it's going to be long before I'm reading another of Laura's books, of for that matter visiting the Great Lakes of Michigan!! Thank you Laura, your book was a great read and will have lasting help.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    “Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the ruins of her ice water mansion, Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams, The islands and bays are for sportsmen.” -Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” While Laura K. Cowan’s Music of Sacred Lakes doesn’t actually make mention of Lightfoot’s iconic song, I think that it is a fitting introduction to her novel, not only because it is literally music of the lake, but because like Music of Sacred Lakes, the song is lyrical with just a touch “Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the ruins of her ice water mansion, Old Michigan steams like a young man’s dreams, The islands and bays are for sportsmen.” -Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” While Laura K. Cowan’s Music of Sacred Lakes doesn’t actually make mention of Lightfoot’s iconic song, I think that it is a fitting introduction to her novel, not only because it is literally music of the lake, but because like Music of Sacred Lakes, the song is lyrical with just a touch of the Gothic. Read more at ASP Reviews.

  7. 5 out of 5

    S.M. Lowry

    This novel is worthy of analysis in a literature class! It was gripping; I couldn’t put it down. The descriptions were vivid, the struggle was heartbreaking, and Peter’s redemption was moving and inspiring. Peter is a character who struggles to find himself and discover his own beliefs, which is something that’s relatable to many people. The author brings the scenery and characters to life so well that I forgot I was reading. The mix of the supernatural and natural worlds draws the reader in and This novel is worthy of analysis in a literature class! It was gripping; I couldn’t put it down. The descriptions were vivid, the struggle was heartbreaking, and Peter’s redemption was moving and inspiring. Peter is a character who struggles to find himself and discover his own beliefs, which is something that’s relatable to many people. The author brings the scenery and characters to life so well that I forgot I was reading. The mix of the supernatural and natural worlds draws the reader in and doesn’t let go. This is a must-read book from a very talented author. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    It took me time to get into this book and I think that's okay. By the time I picked it back up and started reading it again there were different things going on in my life which made the story more relatable. Peter causes an accident which kills a young girl and the book is about how he comes to terms with his life afterward. Much of the story is intense and you can feel the turmoil he is in which is just heart breaking. It takes him a long time to forgive himself and to find peace.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I received a copy to read and review. I'm very impressed with it. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. The story is a very interesting one. We are introduced to Peter. He is going through some things. We go along as he tries to figure out who he is and what he wants out of life. He has to deal with some situations that haunts him. It's a very good book. I highly recommend it to others. I look forward to reading more of Laura's books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenise

    Shocked at the number of stars given to this book. Written with the skill of a high school sophomore, it is one of the worst books I've ever read. The plot is thin and horribly predictable. The characters are not developed well at all. The only reason I finished it is because I kept hoping I was going to see a spectacular redemptive turn in the plot. It just didn't happen.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Richardson

    A very simple book that is soothing to read. We all have to find our faith in some way or some place. The book does not really end, when the idea has been conveyed it just sorta stops. There are several situations in the book that you never find out what happens. I OK with that because the message is easy to understand.

  12. 5 out of 5

    D.K. Cassidy

    The incredible journey of one man trying to find his destiny. Laura Cowan's beautiful prose throughout this novel made it a pleasure to read. I look forward to future works from this talented and original author.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megan Folse

    I'm not a big fan of Christian fiction because it all is the same, even if the people and settings are different. This book reinforced my opinion. But the writing was lovely even if the storyline put me to sleep.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Angie Burdett

    Beautiful The imagery was beautiful. Deep topics to tackle, but did so pretty well. A contemplative read asking the big questions in an awe inspiring setting.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Gronley

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leslie South

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erin Al-Mehairi

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pat

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rozena Dupuis

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gracie Helring

  23. 5 out of 5

    Takro

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gail

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandi Barnes

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tess Ailshire

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angie Wollschlager

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jorge

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeni 'Pixie'

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anamar Bañuelos

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