When sculptor and author Barb Davis is given an NEA grant to pair original feminist sculptures with searing first-person essays on transitions in women's lives, she organizes a two-week writing retreat with 12 of the best, brightest, and most notorious lesbian authors in the business. But in between regularly scheduled happy hours and writing sessions, the women enter a tournament bass-fishing competition, receive life coaching from a wise-cracking fish named Phoebe, and uncover a subterranean world of secrets and desires that is as varied and elusive as the fish that swim in the waters of Lake Champlain.
Set on the beautiful shores of Vermont's Lake Champlain, Backcast is richly populated with an expansive cast of endearing and outrageous characters who battle writer's block, quirky locals, personal demons, unexpected attractions, and even each other during their two-week residency. For Barb and each of her 12 writers, the stakes in this fast-moving story are high, but its emotional and romantic payoffs are slow and sweet. Filled with equal parts laugh-out-loud humor and breathtaking pathos, Backcast serves up a sometimes irreverent, sometimes sobering look at the hidden lives of women, and how they laugh, love, lose, and blunder through their own search for meaning.
©2015 Ann McMan (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
What an awesome weave of characterizations in a well crafted tale of life! What a beautiful work! I recommend all of her stories. I long for more audio books! Ann McMan has a special talent for mastering the character development in each of her books. Her gentle weave of character in this tale feels so very authentic. Another fabulous book.
This story had both comedy and tragedy.The author was able to spin this tale out and reel it back in so all of the pieces fell together and provided the story with a very heart felt and warm closure. Well done, I highly recommend its reading. I was thoroughly touched by this book. I have read it and listened to it. It is worth to experience both platforms.
Once again Ann has written a very interesting book. Sometimes we don't realize how people were raised and how they were perceived. But I Ann found a way to put her humor in this book and I love Quinn.
Herstory is past.
Mavis or Pheobe
The last scene. Too bad it was just the snake that got shot. Maybe just a kneecap or something, but dude got off easy.
The character development was two sided. We knew something about their past, even though we can't now attribute the past to specific characters, which is one of my complaints about the use of the epilogue... Otherwise, GREAT character development. Good stitching of friendships together and how each woman balances the other.
I'll start with my most positive thoughts and leave my grumpiness for last...
One of the things that I admire about Ann McMan as an author is that she writes from a place that allows her to speak frankly and authoritatively regarding religion and LGBTQ issues. She does this respectfully, not pigeon-holing the whole lot of them, but not letting them get away with their ignorance either. It's a delicate road to walk. Based on her use of scripture across all of her books to which I have listened, I'd say she spent some time with the Bible. She very well may have been raised in one or more of the southern states. Here's the crux... If you're gay and a Christian, gays will give you a ration, because you're a Christian. Christian's will give you a ration, because you're gay. It sucks. Maybe, at least the LGBTQ folks could just not be so hard on us for a spiritual belief, regardless of their anger of own spiritual beliefs or lack thereof... Anyway, I respect Ms. McMan for her work and what I perceive she is trying to accomplish with it -- accomplish in addition to excellent story telling....
I have heard several books of late that dive into the ugliness that represents our not-just-American-but-particularly-American religious handling of LGBTQ young people. I know it extends to older people, but older people have at least developed some bit of defense against the crap that goes on in our world. Young people don't have those tools. Anyway, it's hard to read it. It's hard to take it in and allow it "to be" in a way that will allow us to actually learn from that crap and figure out how to do something better for kids. We can see how stupid that crap is. We can see how it affects kids. Some of us know exactly how it affected us. Listening to it, hearing it, it's hard. It engenders anger and frustration. It's reality, though. I feel like I have to listen to all of the stories like that, because I have to have the most accurate sense of those things and understand them. I haven't experienced *all* of it. I can only learn from other peoples' accounts.
I gave the Story rating only 4 stars, because A. Though I may have become accustomed to the jolting transitions after awhile, that was more of acquiescence. I stopped fighting the transitions, because it was distracting me from the rest of the really great content. Also, I think the transitions, as the story went on, were accomplished more gracefully. B. Since I was unable to figure out which herstories went with which person, and, because I really would have liked to have had the exhibit explained, if even based on the models that were created, I feel like the Epilogue was just a final chapter and not the traditional wind-up-the-story-with-a-neat-bow that most often are. The opportunity to clear up some of the mysteries and to provide that nice bow was wasted.
I shared the first two paragraphs of this on my website, handsacrossthepond. Cheers!
Of the duo - Alice B. Taklas and Gertrude Stein - the most intriguing, for me, was always Harriet Lane Levy. The one that was left behind who may be the less remembered or appreciated, but her story, and her stories, are just as interesting.
The world is full of Alices, Harriets, and Gertrudes and this book depicts the story of such a group, spotlighting all of them, even the ones in the shadows.
It may not take place in 920 O’Farrell Street or in 27 rue de Fleurus but the combination of written and plastic arts complimenting each other and creating this tapestry of women, lesbian, existence is remarkable.
Today's who-done-it tend to whirl around violence. This one is much more subtle and elegant. The suspense of not knowing which character wrote what assay, trying to figure that out as the book enfolds, is thrilling. Unlike most thrillers, when the mystery is revealed you just want to re-read, delve deeper.
So tilt your hat, put on some sunscreen and cast. Sit back, enjoy and let Phoebe guide you.
"Not what I expected, so some disappointment...."
Sometimes a good narrator can lift a bad book. Sometimes a bad narrator can ruin a good book. That said~This narrator had a really nice tone and did many voice characters well, but alas (for me) this excellent narrator could not redeem this book IMO Perhaps if you are interested in fishing ~you've found your next great read. I sometimes wish one could hear a large part of the book before buying because I waste a fortune buying one book after another until I find a gem! Not for Me, but might be for others....
"Females, fish and far out thinking"
I love the way mcman writes conversations. The way she captures our inner dialogues and those decisions we make to speak or hold our peace. The pacing is gorgeous and this is another beautiful audible performance. If this is your first mcman your in good hands go and read Jericho if you feel the need for more affirmation of what it means to be a woman, a lesbian in real life.
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