Christmas at Long Lake: the perfect stocking stuffer
J. Gordon
10/25/2006 9:24:28 PM

Itís not often you pick up a memoir these days about a functional family; a family steeped in Christian values and country ways, straight out of Norman Rockwellís post-war Americana-- and yet human and fallible enough in character to hold a readerís interest. Author Rick Skwiotís critically-acclaimed third book, Christmas at Long Lake [Antaeus Books], does exactly that, reflecting on a boyhood Christmas in 1953 when his father loses his job at the Granite City Steel Mill and the family is forced to move to the still segregated city of St. Louis.

The wonder of this quiet, quick-reading memoir (112 pages) is not the action of the story so much as the beauty of the language, and all that Skwiot manages to encapsulate in character, setting, and emotion within just a few daysí time. Growing up in virtual poverty, this six-year-oldís life was rich and downright blessed in many ways. A great read for anyone familiar with the St. Louis region, urban or ruralóand a beautiful little book to stuff in any stocking.

Rick Skwiot is also the author of two novels set in Mexico: Flesh, which won the Hemingway First Novel Award, and Sleeping with Pancho Villa, a finalist for the Willa Cather Prize.


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