Midwest Book Review on Raymond Luczak’s Compassion Michigan

The Literary Fiction Shelf

Raymond Luczak
Modern History Press
5145 Pontiac Trail, Ann Arbor, MI 48105-9627
9781615995288, $33.95, HC, 200pp
Synopsis: Doesn’t history matter anymore? Could we still have compassion for others who don’t share our views? Encompassing some 130 years in Ironwood’s history, “Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories” by Raymond Luczak (who is a Yooper native, and either the author or the editor of 24 books — including Flannelwood) illuminates characters struggling to adapt to their circumstances starting in the present day, with its subsequent stories rolling back in time to when Ironwood was first founded.
As an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling skill set that keeps the readers total and rapt attention to what they are reading, author Raymond Lucazk has created an impressive body of work with “Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories”
These are deftly crafted and engaging stories about what does it mean to live in a small town (so laden with its glory day reminiscences) against the stark economic realities of today:
  • A Deaf woman, born into a large, hearing family, looks back on her turbulent relationship with her younger, hearing sister.
  • A gas station clerk reflects on Stella Draper, the woman who ran an ice cream parlor only to kill herself on her 33rd birthday.
  • A devout mother has a crisis of faith when her son admits that their priest molested him.
  • A bank teller, married to a soldier convicted of treason during the Korean War, gradually falls for a cafeteria worker.
  • A young transgender man, with a knack for tailoring menswear, escapes his wealthy Detroit background for a chance to live truly as himself in Ironwood.
  • When a handsome single man is attracted to her, a popular schoolteacher enters into a marriage of convenience only to wonder if she’s made the right decision.

Raymond Luczak, author of Compassion, Michigan

Critique: The twin roles of the literary short story are to entertain and to provoke thought. As an author with a genuine flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling skill set that keeps the readers total and rapt attention to what they are reading, author Raymond Lucazk has created an impressive body of work with “Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories”. While especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library Contemporary American Literary Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories” is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781615995271, $21.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

Editorial Note: Raymond Luczak is a Yooper native, is the author and editor of 24 books, including Flannelwood.

Chlorophyll

SKU ‎ 978-1-61599-642-1
$15.95
Poems about Michigan's Upper Peninsula
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: ‎ 978-1-61599-642-1
Brand: Modern History Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: Audible, iTunes
Edition: 1st
Author: Raymond Luczak
Pages: 98
Publication Date: 09/01/2022
Join me on a journey to the unspoiled forests of Upper Michigan
A long time ago young men wishing to be tall
scaled the mast of my octopus arms
and scanned the horizon of Lake Superior
for a glimmer of Canada. Usually we were cut down ...
For many of those who've lived there, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can seem like a magical place because nature there feels so potent and, at times, full of mystery. After having grown up there, Raymond Luczak can certainly attest to its mythical powers. In Chlorophyll, he reimagines Lake Superior and its environs as well as his houseplants as a variety of imaginary and historical characters.

Ghosts dress in only gray and white.
This is how they camouflage their volcanic selves.
Lake Superior is bottled with them.
You can't see them but they move like fish ...

"In Raymond Luczak's Chlorophyll, the devastating natural beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula is imbued with passions its reticent human inhabitants are loathe to express. Trees, lakes, and stones air their infatuations, their grudges, their mythologies and griefs. Through this forest of the otherwise unsaid, we catch glimpses of a speaker who knows there is no line to blur between 'person' and 'nature.'" --Emily Van Kley, author of Arrhythmia and The Rust and the Cold

Spring is a girl who's cried all night
only to find that morning easily forgives
the coldness of him having left her
stranded among the thicket of evergreens ...

"Giving voice to the natural world, Raymond Luczak allows the rocks, trees, lakes, insects, and flowers that are part of flora and fauna of the region to speak for themselves, and they remind us that we are human, living in a more than human world." --William Reichard, author of Our Delicate Barricades Downed and The Night Horse: New and Selected Poems

"Evocative yet personal communing with nature. One of my sons summed up poetry as saying a lot with a few words. This collection does that. There is a piece of prose smuggled in and the poems vary in length considerably. There are some poems with traditional rhyme (and assonance) and the main themes are nature, anthropomorphised and used as metaphor. Dependability of nature and changing seasons also feature. The author reveals much of his story and relationships as well as the geography he inhabits and appreciates. I would advise reading this in small sips, as I did. That way you'll be able to savor the poems and their messages. I have deducted a star as many have already been published previously - and for the inclusion of prose (albeit informative) amongst the poems." --Daryl P. Goodwin, M.D.

"Being born a Michigan girl and now living in Texas; I miss the seasons, the tall beautiful trees, the clear rushing water of the rivers, the many lakes, and of course the Great Lakes surrounding Michigan. This collection of poems paints the visuals into a picturesque moving picture of the landscape, Lake Superior, insects, trees, animals, flowers, grass, life and death, etc. You don't have to be a Michigander or an outdoorsman to appreciate nature's beauty coming to life in the spring, the lazy dog days of summer, the colorful and chillier days of autumn, and the frigid cold and stark white of winter. This collection provides escapism to ordinary day!" --Laura Spinnett

"Luczak has a fantastic command of language and human emotion. Get a box of Kleenex, a bottle of wine, and some uninterrupted reading time. I have already reread it, told people about the book, and am expecting this book will win many awards. Very impressive." --Carolyn Wilhelm, Midwest Book Review

Raymond Luczak grew up in the Upper Peninsula. He is the author and editor of numerous titles such as Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories. His book once upon a twin: poems was chosen as a U.P. Notable Book for 2021. He resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota
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