Told from many different points of view Peter Grandbois’s stunning new novel Nahoonkara is the story of brothers and husbands and wives and children and women and men and mothers all striving to find a place for themselves in a world which is sometimes puzzling to them. On the surface, the story takes place mainly in Wisconsin and a mining town in Colorado, but beneath the surface and above the surface, there is the other narrative that is a thread that is everlasting.
Basically, the story begins as it ends: with the voice of the one great narrator, Killian, who pulls together all of the other voices in the narrative. He is the one who shows us that there are no real individuals—only parts of one larger whole. Therein lies the message: we can stand alone, but eventually we will come back together to form the chorus.
Getting yourself to this message, you will find a world that is both brutal and magical, beautiful and deadly. It is a world you might recall from your own childhood, inexplicable visions and memories that seem as though they are still occurring. All the while, you will be guided by a writer of extreme skill.
If you are used to reading straight-forward novels, you will likely find yourself puzzled at first about this book: what is it exactly? Is it a poem? Is it a play? Is it a novel? The answer, in my mind, is that it is all of these and more. It feels almost as if it should be read aloud by a fire. It feels like a story in the great tradition of story telling—of passing a narrative on by speaking it aloud. In that, I would encourage you to not be intimidated by this book if it is different from what you are used to. I encourage you to open yourself up and let it happen to you. You are in good hands.