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If Vermont's Northeast Kingdom had a literary king, it was Howard Frank Mosher. His final book is a collection of linked short stories all taking place in that lovely landscape near the Canadian border. Spanning the centuries, these stories touch on universal themes like love, race, home and death but with exquisite attention to the details of his characters and their natural surroundings. We lost Howard in January 2017 but his words are very much alive . Long live the king.— Stan Hynds
The final book by one of America’s most treasured writers.
Upon his passing in January 2017, Howard Frank Mosher was recognized as one of America’s most acclaimed writers. His fiction set in the world of Vermont’s fabled Northeast Kingdom chronicles the intertwining family histories of the natives, wanderers, outcasts, and others who settled in this ethereal place. In its obituary, The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Mosher’s fictional Kingdom County, Vt., became his New England version of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.”
In Points North, completed just weeks before his death, Mosher presents a brilliant, lovingly-evoked collection of stories that center around the Kinneson family, ranging over decades of their history in the Kingdom. From a loquacious itinerant preacher who beguiles the reticent farmers and shopkeepers of a small New England town, to a proposed dam that threatens the river that Kinneson men have fished for generations, the scandalous secret of a romance and its violent consequences, and a young man’s seemingly fruitless search for love—Points North is a full-hearted, gently-comic, and beautifully-written last gift to the readers who treasure Howard Frank Mosher.
“How bittersweet these last, wonderful Points North stories are, and how they intensify the loss of Howard Frank Mosher, one of our most beloved and sure-footed storytellers. One last time then, back to Kingdom County, the now mythic landscape that Howard made inseparable from those who lived there, the Kinnesons and Pliny Templeton, and all the rest who filled and broke our hearts. Back one last time with the man who gave these people and this place such rich, abundant, glorious life.” —Richard Russo
“Points North will be our final visit to Howard Frank Mosher's beloved northeast corner of Vermont, a remote swath of land he christened Kingdom County. But like Mosher himself, this book's moral compass is spot-on, the characters eccentric and original, the stories ranging from heartbreaking to hilarious. This book is a gift: Mosher saved the best for last.” —Chris Bohjalian, author of The Sleepwalker and The Guest Room
“This splendid collection from Howard Frank Mosher shows his signature narrative gifts.…The lives of the Kinneson family, in all of their hardscrabble joys, sorrows, and romantic scandals, compose wonderful rural dramas. These stories have the historical and emotional dimensions of Hardy’s Wessex Tales. Mosher elevates literature to that high a level of regard.” —Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist and Next Life Might Be Kinder
"What a gift Howard Frank Mosher has left us. Points North is beautiful, smart, poignant, and funny, all written in the inimitable voice of one of America’s greatest storytellers." —Thomas Christopher Greene, author of If I Forget You and The Headmaster's Wife
"There's a delightful circularity and gemlike clarity to Howard Frank Mosher's final gift to American letters. The stories in Points North allow us the opportunity to revisit some of his most treasured characters, filling us in on different events in their lives, and in some cases, their deaths. It is his ability to depict humanity in full, with laughter, guile, and duplicity, often not separated by more than a blink. A stunning, and for many of us, heartbreaking, culmination for one of the most unique of American writers." —Jeffrey Lent, author of In the Fall and Before We Sleep
"Deceptive in their simplicity, Mosher’s stories poignantly illuminate complex themes of loyalty and identity and can rightfully be called American classics." - Booklist
"Mosher’s lyrical stories, published posthumously, stand as a last testament to his place among the best regional American writers of his day...Mosher’s rich language makes art from both history and the quotidian, from bigotry and courage to fishing flies and brook trout." - Publishers Weekly
"With elegant prose Mosher skillfully creates characters of depth and interest, filling his stories with gentle humor and emphasizing the ties that make and preserve family history...Recommended." - Library Journal