Please join us for a discussion of North by Brad Kessler. We will be joined by Brad himself to discuss the novel.
This book club discussion will be held both in person and via Zoom. If you would like the Zoom link, please email your request here.
As a late spring blizzard brews, Brother Christopher, a cloistered monk at Blue Mountain Monastery in Vermont, rushes to tend to his Ida Red and Northern Spy apple trees in advance of the unseasonal snowstorm. When the storm lands a young Somali refugee, Sahro Abdi Muse, at the monastery, Christopher is pulled back into the world as his life intersects with Sahro's and that of an Afghan war veteran in surprising and revealing ways.
North traces the epic journey of Sahro from her home in Somalia to South America, along the migrant route through Central America and Mexico, to New York City, and finally, her dangerous attempt to continue north to safety in Canada. It also compellingly traces the inner journeys of Brother Christopher, questioning his future in a world where the monastery way of life is waning, and of veteran Teddy Fletcher, seeking a way to make peace with his past.
Written in Brad Kessler's sharp, beautiful, and observant prose, and grounded in the author's own corner of Vermont, where there is a Carthusian monastery, a vibrant community of Somali asylum seekers, and a hole left after a disproportionate number of Vermont soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, North gives voice to these invisible communities, delivering a story of human connection in a time of displacement.
Brad Kessler is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, Lick Creek and Birds in Fall, which was a recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and a memoir, Goat Song. He has been awarded a Whiting, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, the Nation, the Kenyon Review, and Bomb. He lives in Vermont.
Finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize
Finalist for the Vermont Book Award
A powerfully moving novel about the intertwined lives of a Vermont monk, a Somali refugee, and an Afghan war veteran by the author of the acclaimed memoir Goat Song
As a late spring blizzard brews, Brother Christopher, a cloistered monk at Blue Mountain Monastery in Vermont