Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Vacationland

2013
Author:

Sarah Stonich

Vacationland

From the best-selling author of These Granite Islands, a novel of stories intersecting at a broken-down fishing resort in the north woods of Minnesota

On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge—only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. Vacationland is a moving portrait of a place—timeless and of the moment, composed of conflicting dreams and shared experience—and of the woman bound to it by legacy and sometimes longing, but not necessarily by choice.

Vacationland showcases Sarah Stonich's incredible talent and ability to insert humor and startling details into the narrative without disrupting the story. Without flinching, Stonich leads the reader through the seemingly harsh and overwhelming landscape of northernmost Minnesota and reveals the heart of the characters that occupy it. In her capable hands Vacationland becomes a destination you'll want to visit again and again.

Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

On a lake in northernmost Minnesota, you might find Naledi Lodge—only two cabins still standing, its pathways now trodden mostly by memories. And there you might meet Meg, or the ghost of the girl she was, growing up under her grandfather’s care in a world apart and a lifetime ago. Now an artist, Meg paints images “reflected across the mirrors of memory and water,” much as the linked stories of Vacationland cast shimmering spells across distance and time.

Those whose paths have crossed at Naledi inhabit Vacationland: a man from nearby Hatchet Inlet who knew Meg back when, a Sarajevo refugee sponsored by two parishes who can’t afford “their own refugee,” aged sisters traveling to fulfill a fateful pact once made at the resort, a philandering ad man, a lonely Ojibwe stonemason, and a haiku-spouting girl rescued from a bog.

Sarah Stonich, whose work has been described as “unexpected and moving” by the Chicago Tribune and “a well-paced feast” by the Los Angeles Times, weaves these tales of love and loss, heartbreak and redemption into a rich novel of interconnected and disjointed lives. Vacationland is a moving portrait of a place—at once timeless and of the moment, composed of conflicting dreams and shared experience—and of the woman bound to it by legacy and sometimes longing, but not necessarily by choice.

Vacationland

Sarah Stonich is the best-selling author of These Granite Islands, translated into seven languages and shortlisted for France’s Gran Prix de Lectrices de Elle; the critically acclaimed novel The Ice Chorus; and a memoir, Shelter. The founder of WordStalkers.com, she lives in Minneapolis and spends summers in northeastern Minnesota.

Vacationland

Vacationland showcases Sarah Stonich's incredible talent and ability to insert humor and startling details into the narrative without disrupting the story. Without flinching, Stonich leads the reader through the seemingly harsh and overwhelming landscape of northernmost Minnesota and reveals the heart of the characters that occupy it. In her capable hands Vacationland becomes a destination you'll want to visit again and again.

Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

Within Vactionland, Stonich collects the lonesome souls of a beguiling, timeworn place and gives us profound glimpses into their hopes and sorrows. By turns funny, haunting, and heartbreaking, she finds the universal in the specific, the deeply human in the parochial and peculiar.

Peter Bognanni, author of The House of Tomorrow

In prose that is incisive and elegant, Stonich beautifully inhabits the hearts and minds of a richly diverse set of characters.

Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Day the Falls Stood Still

Each chapter renders a story complete, and the stories together weave a deeply mined narrative of place and people, elegiac yet life-affirming.

Kirkus Reviews

Stonich displays formidable narrative skill. While the novel presents brief vignettes in the lives of several characters, each interconnected story is given its own true, clear voice. Vacationland is compelling, witty, and nuanced, an incredibly enjoyable glimpse inside the worlds of seemingly disparate individuals. For fans of Richard Russo and Margaret Atwood, this is a brilliantly engaging novel, focusing on the power of memory, new discoveries, and shared experiences. A triumph.

Booklist, starred review

A brilliant collection of linked stories centered around Naledi, a fictive northern Minnesota fishing resort. Naledi inherits in Stonich (“These Granite Islands”) a chronicler with storytelling gifts reminiscent of our most holy mother of the frozen north, Alice Munro. She has a similar flair for ferrying readers back in time for several pages, deepening our regard for a character, then softly dropping us back into the present without a moment’s confusion or jostling. Stonich is also funny as hell, not the easiest thing to pull off in serious literary fiction.

Star Tribune

With a wistful eye toward the bygone era of screen-door vacations, Sarah Stonich sets the thoughtful, atmospheric stories of Vacationland in and around one of these old-timey resorts near the Canadian border. Vacationland is a faithful representation of this harshly beautiful place, the way it affects the people who live there and the lasting impression it leaves on those that are just passing through.

Shelf Awareness

Minneapolis author Sarah Stonich is adept at plumbing the complicated relations between townies and tourists. Despite having published three well-praised previous books, two of them set in Minnesota, Stonich has flown somewhat under the radar in her home state. Vacationland—out . . . just in time for cabin season—may change that.

Star Tribune

Sarah Stonich's love of the people and landscape of northern Minnesota shines in her new novel, Vacationland, made up of interconnected stories about people who worked or spent holidays at Naledi Lodge over several decades. Every Minnesotan will recognize them. They are us.

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Although it’s a work of fiction, Stonich’s Vacationland contains so many different lives that it goes a long way in correcting that, with characters that are admirable and pathetic, strong and moving. There and locals and there are visitors, and their stories become so intermingled that in the end, the northland belongs to all of them, and they all belong here.

MinnPost

Stonich is a talented writer. The stories are by turn funny, moving and frightening. She moves deftly from past to present and her characters are full of surprises.

The Chronicle-Review

Stonich had me at ‘Hello.’ Marvelous, marvelous writing is at work on these pages.

The Quivering Pen

Sarah Stonich’s new novel, Vacationland, will be a familiar destination for anyone who has spent a week at an old-time lake resort or for all those teenagers who have spent a summer working as a dock boy, cabin cleaner, or bar staff. Firmly set in the border country of northern Minnesota, the book is a series of interlocking short stories chronicling the life and death and rebirth of a small rustic vacation spot.

Ely Timberjay

How you can resist a novel with a name like Vacationland? I couldn't, and I found this book irresistible.

Caroline Leavitt

Stonich brings all of her characters to life with gorgeous, organic mastry.

City Pages

There is such joy in reading this novel by Minneapolis writer Sarah Stonich.

Star Tribune

Vacationland is compelling, witty, and nuanced, an incredibly enjoyable glimpse inside the worlds of seemingly desperate individuals. . . a brilliantly engaging novel, focusing on the power of memory, new discoveries and shared experiences.

Proctor Journal

This isn’t a novel trying to wow us, or woo us. It’s a story that captures the human essence of a community, the gritty changes of passing time, and a main character who makes us work to get to know her.

Hazel & Wren

this book by Minnesota native Sarah Stonich reflects on pivotal moments in everyday lives, fleeting and precious and worth remembering – moments that resonate because we recognize ourselves in them, we recognize our own stories in the voices speaking in these pages, even if our circumstances are vastly different.

LitStack

Stonich has a razor-sharp wit that brings to life the many characters in this quintessential Minnesota tale and will appeal to anyone who has ever spent time in the northland.

Isanti County News

Vacationland

Contents

Separation
Reparation
Destination
Assimilation
Moderation
Navigation
Calculation
Echolocation
Omission
Orientation
Disembarkation
Hesitation
Approximation
Occlusion
Tintinnabulation

Vacationland

Book video

 

-------

UMP blog - Talk to the hand

As a supplement to the trailer's release, author Sarah Stonich has provided a character exploration of a mysterious, silent figure in the novel that those who know Vacationland will immediately recognize and interested readers will be intrigued by. This figure appears in the opening chapter of the book, so there are minimal spoilers here for those who haven't read it yet.

Read the full article.