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Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

Across the Great Lake

Michigan Notable Book Award, Library of Michigan
Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, North Carolina Literary and Historical Association
Silver in Literary Fiction, Independent Publisher Book Awards


“Lee Zacharias is one of those profoundly rare writers, a natural. Her voice is one you can trust, and her characters are real, moving, and come from the experience of someone who knows what trouble human beings get themselves into.”
—Craig Nova, author of The Good Son

"It was a huge and powerful ship with a tall, handsome pilothouse and big smoking stacks, no place for a girl, though I loved it, I cannot tell you how much I loved it."

In the brutally cold winter of 1936, as his wife lies dying, Henrik Halvorsen takes their daughter with him on a perilous journey. Captain of the coal-fired Manitou, he is charged with transporting railroad cars across an icy Lake Michigan. Five-year-old Fern revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand, before the sighting of a ghostly ship presages danger for all aboard. Eight decades later, Fern reflects on the dark secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage.


Lee Zacharias. Photo: Traci Arney

Lee Zacharias is the author of four previous books, including The Only Sounds We Make and Lessons, a Book of the Month Club selection. Her work has appeared in the Best American Essays series. Born in Chicago and raised in Hammond, Indiana, she is professor emerita of English at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.





“Paints a vivid picture of the tumultuous winter conditions that impede travel and provides poetic details of daily life on board the huge ship and all its mechanics.”
Shepherd Express

“One of the most intensely written and beautifully conceived novels to come my way in many a season. It is also among the most gripping, and it maintains its hold until the final period—and even beyond. I will be thinking about these characters for a long, long time. Seldom have I read a story with so much life on every page. Zacharias is a master.”
—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

“An astonishing novel of high intelligence and moral rigor. Lee Zacharias is a master. Like Harper Lee and Marilynne Robinson, Zacharias reminds us of the lasting power of childhood.”
—Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds



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Jim Guhl
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A young girl in a sepia-toned photograph stares directly at the camera. The portrait fades diagonally from top left to bottom right into a navy photo of a steam ferry headed left.
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New in Paperback!
March 2020
LC: 2018011386 PS
240 pp.   5.5 x 8.5

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Paper $16.95
ISBN 9780299320942
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Cloth $23.95
ISBN 9780299320904
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