Set in the hills of Kentucky, Edra Ziesk’s third novel deals with boundaries and ownership, visible and invisible, present and past. It is the gripping story of what happens to a small Appalachian community when an outsider pays an unexpected visit, and everyone discovers there are many kinds of boundaries, and more than one way to trespass.
“I was caught up in the stories of these people in this place and privy to their secret lives. If the novelist’s first obligation is to create the world of the novel, Ms. Ziesk succeeds handsomely. A triumph.”–Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever
This superbly accomplished novel is a magical place inhabited by jeopardized children who lead adult lives, and by grownups who are goofy, moonstruck lovers, all of them ruled by cruel finalities about which their author refuses to lie. She makes it impossible to stop reading her novel or to keep from cheering her characters on. Edra Ziesk, who loves each one of them, has spun them and their dangerous, enchanted world out of language that shimmers and stings. (–Frederick Busch)
There are few thrills as sublime as seeing the familiar from a fresh angle. Edra Ziesk is a writer capable of creating that sensation over and over again. In A Cold Spring, she portrays the fabric of relationships in a small Vermont town in sentences full of breathtaking metaphors. I felt held by her story as if in a spider web both delicate and strong. (Alice Elliott Dark)
A Cold Spring is that rare thing, a novel of community-of small-town life writ large. From parent to child, husband to wife, we meet strangers and locals estranged from each other, adrift in a landscape: at risk. There's fire and ice here for all. (Nicholas Delbanco)
Set on the Jersey shore against a backdrop of political instability and the Vietnam War, Acceptable Losses is the poignant story of a young girl and the sadness that pervades her life. Joellen is grieving from the loss of her mother and the inattentiveness of her absent father. Ida, the family cook, is the only source of support for her. She finds a kindred spirit in Joe Handy, a character with an equally desperate life brought to a too early end in the jungles of Vietnam. The novel, written in the first-person voice of Joellen, traces her life and maturation with great sensitivity. This is an impressive display of talent and a debut novel the author should be proud to have penned.