This is the story of the trials that beset the McKinnons, the first family of Mattagash, Maine, when they try to arrange a funeral for the family matriarch. Bubbling with quirky humor, this marks a dazzling debut for a gifted and richly talented young writer.
Welcome to Mattagash, the last town in the middle of the northern Maine wilderness. The road dead-ends here, but Mattagash's citizens are fiercely proud. Yet this simple town connected by a single one-way bridge is anything but tranquil. While neighbors bicker publicly over trivialities such as offensive mailbox designs and gossip about suspicious newcomers, they privately struggle to navigate deeper issues - scandals, loss, failed ambitions, the scars of war - and a mysterious dead body in the woods.
Are There Aliens in Allagash? Roberta is convinced she and her best friend Marilee can win the State Science Fair if only they can find an amazing project to showcase. And they've got the whole summer to work on it. But in order to win they'll need to defeat their chief competitor, "The Four Hs of the Apocalypse": Henry Horton Harris Helmsby.
The typically tranquil backcountry town of Mattagash, Maine, is buzzing with news. Amy Joy Lawler, the last of Mattagash's founding clan, just announced her engagement to Jean Claude Cloutier-an outsider. Her scandalized mother takes to bed in protest while the rest of the town gleefully anticipates the social event of the year.
One year after Henry Munroe's fatal heart attack at age forty-one, his doting parents, prudish wife, rebellious son, and wayward brother are still reeling. So is Evie Cooper, a bartender, self-proclaimed "spiritual portraitist," and Henry's former mistress. While his widow, Jeanie, struggles with the betrayal, Henry's overbearing mother is making plans to hold a memorial service.
Welcome to Mattagash, Maine, a town where everyone's personal lives are as entwined as their family trees. On the day of the first snowfall, the residents brace themselves for the long winter ahead. Mere survival will be hard; dealing with each other is another story. As winter settles in, various Mattagashians careen from conundrum to conundrum, trying to save dying small businesses, caring for crabby loved ones, and cruising through town, stirring up gossip any way they can get it.
In small-town Maine, unhappily retired Howard Woods is shaken awake one morning by his wife, who confesses to a devastating affair. To the utter dismay of his family, Howard refuses to forgive her. Instead, he vows to travel to Pamplona, Spain, in the footsteps of Hemingway to join the annual running of the bulls. His life promptly descends into chaos. But how does a middle-aged homebody, who has never even done his own laundry, salvage his manhood and pride and learn how to rebuild his life on his own?
"This book is why I read."
Fred and Lorraine Stone met at the famous Woodstock music festival in upstate New York. And as all couples must, they grew up - just not in the same direction. Now in their 40s, Fred has become Frederick, a sell-out accountant whose last vestige of his free-wheeling years is a vegetarian diet. Meanwhile, Lorraine, who now goes by the name Chandra (Sanskrit for changeable), has morphed into a psychology teacher and animal rights activist.
Rosemary O'Neal lived for eight years with William, in a rambling country house in Maine. Then William committed suicide on a trip to London, leaving her with questions, anger, and no way to say goodbye. When her zany family descends on the house, bringing a tidal wave of casseroles and their own petty problems, Rosemary retreats with her cat from the chaos of the world around them. (Her cat understands human nature better than Homo sapiens anyway.)
"Delightful Realism of Grief"
Fortune hasn't been kind to 66-year-old Mattie Gifford. Her mother committed suicide, her husband slept with her best friend, and she can't stand her three selfish daughters. But she does love her son, Sonny, who nevertheless plunges her into deep despair when he takes two women and a poodle hostage in his ex-wife's trailer. Sonny claims to have seen John Lennon's face in an apparition and gets his own mug on the television news.