Mandana Dreams: New York Stories

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written by local, Skaneateles author

Captivating vignettes from a lake town but with themes that resonate:
 an engineering student returns from a semester abroad to his family's lake home and discovers his mother is gravely ill. Without hesitation, he puts his ambitious schedule on hold. Soon his days are filled with selfless attention, seemingly mundane companionship, simple giving of time, even inexplicable moments of joy. Given the day to day healing for each, the question: who reaps the greatest rewards for service? And then, following the jarring outcome to this story: who is affected by his legacy? The seven stories and poem also accompanying this novella chronicle the family's relocation to the stunning lake country of the father's youth as they seek to retain balance in a world guided by ambition and success. In the story "Office", the narrator with his son visit his late father (personnel director)'s place of employment, a local foundry. The narrator recalls helping on a Christmas turkey give away there and the unadorned connection between the father and unionized workers. "Rescue" tells of helping a stranger with his car stuck on an icy road near their lake house, leading to the rescued man's glowing recollection of childhood stays at the camp below, his assertion that the rescuing family is "living a dream", his earlier saving as a camper of another youth from drowning, and other ties. In "The Lyman" a son takes on restoration of a venerable wooden boat, and the mysterious elder ("Less") who shows up to help. The son resigns to a deliberate, even Zen-like pace of work, still anxious for its completion. He is startled when Less disappears just as completion of the job is in sight. Soon, though, he realizes the healing that has occurred given Less' connection to the very same vessel damaged in a fatal outing years earlier. In "Middle" another son, following a lakeside accident, becomes reconciled to loss, maturely confident and prevailing in his own right. In each there is a recurrent quest for genuine human connection and values in a frenetic world. "Well Driller", a several page but readable poem, humorously sets out the not so subtle tension between well drillers' use of fast rotary drilling versus the holistic, spiritual and maddeningly effective modes of a douser or water witch the father hired as a last resort


 Paperback – November 14, 2021

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