What are you reading? "Shelter Half" by Carol Bly
Recommended by Bruce Henricksen of Duluth Title: Shelter Half Author: Carol Bly Publisher: Holy Cow! Press Genre: Literature/Novel Synopsis: As a murder is investigated, we learn the secrets of a small town in northern Minnesota. Review: For many...
Recommended by Bruce Henricksen of Duluth
Title: Shelter Half
Author: Carol Bly
Publisher: Holy Cow! Press
Synopsis: As a murder is investigated, we learn the secrets of a small town in northern Minnesota.
Review: For many years American infantrymen were issued half of a pup tent called a "shelter half." At the end of the day, each soldier joined up with a buddy so that the two could attach their halves and share a tent. This image sets the theme of cooperation and mutual dependence that runs through Carol Bly's only novel, "Shelter Half," finished shortly before her death from cancer in December 2007. Bly, born in Duluth, is well-known in Minnesota as a short story writer, essayist, teacher and social worker. To her followers it's no surprise that her novel is a good one.
"Shelter Half" portrays life in a small, fictional town in our region, seeing it through the eyes of various characters, the town bully, the town doctor, the town do-gooder (who secretly isn't so good) and so on. Incidentally, the book is a murder story. There is great craft in this novel and great wit as well. Its most powerful message is that we must recognize evil and act against it if we are to care for one another.
Tremendous empathy and moral purpose went into this book, and one can only regret that Bly did not turn to novel writing sooner. At a recent memorial event, a person who knew her said that she respected the novel form so much that she hesitated to give it a try. Her hesitation is a loss, but this one, final achievement is a great gift.