Readers Love Into the Wilderness, Luskin's Debut Novel
"I couldn’t put it down but I didn’t want it to end," is what readers are saying about Into The Wilderness (White River Press), Deborah Lee Luskin’s debut novel set in 1964 Vermont. Critics have hailed it as "a fiercely intelligent love story" (The Rutland Herald) and "a perfectly gratifying read" (Seven Days). The novel was recognized by the Vermont Library Association for "Sense of Place." And now it has received a rave review from Boston’s Jewish Advocate.
Luskin has been touring Vermont, speaking at bookstores, libraries and special events. 115 people attended her first reading at Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro on March 5, 2010, when the book was first released. Since then, she has made over twenty appearances and has another twenty scheduled through October. Luskin is an engaging speaker about all things Vermont, but especially Vermont politics at mid-century, when the state began its shift from a Republican stronghold to a bastion of liberal Democrats.
Into The Wilderness is a love story between two sixty-somethings who find themselves facing loneliness and change. Rose Mayer, a Jewish widow from New York, buries her second husband and wonders what she's going to do with the rest of her life. Reluctantly, she visits her son at his summer place in Vermont, where there are neither sidewalks, Democrats nor other Jews. Percy Mendell, is a born and bred Vermonter who has never married, never voted for a Democrat, and never left the state. He’s facing retirement after a long and satisfying career as the local extension agent, and he’s facing a crisis of faith with the nomination of Barry Goldwater. Rose and Percy can’t help bumping into each other in Orton (pop. 290); when the do, they can’t but irritate one another – until they meet at the Marlboro Music Festival. Music is their common language.
Into the Wilderness has been described as "a poignant description of a specific place—the real Vermont—at a specific moment in its fabled history. But it is also a timeless story of human fulfillment, a gift that can only come (if it comes at all) with growing old. Thus it must be and thankfully is a love story. Luskin knows Vermont. But more importantly she knows love. And she puts them together with honesty, fairness and courage." (Frank Bryan, UVM Professor and Vermont’s preeminent scholar of Vermont politics and co-author, with Bill Mares, of Real Vermonters Don’t Milk Goats.)
Into the Wilderness has received rave reviews from the Vermont press and is starting to attract wider attention. Luskin is now reaching out readers of good literature far and wide. For more information, visit www.deborahleeluskin.com.
Luskin has been writing about Vermont since relocating there from New York City in 1984. Luskin holds a PhD in English Literature from Columbia University and has taught literature and writing to diverse learners, from Ivy League undergraduates to prison inmates. She is a Visiting Scholar for the Vermont Humanities Council, a freelance journalist, an essayist, and a skilled technical writer. Into the Wilderness is her first published novel.