This is a novella of literary fiction and magical realism.
The Hammer family receives a visit from their ancient aunt, Martha Toole. Martha Toole is a difficult woman who constantly complains about everything and is deeply entrenched in the glory of the past. She remembers when the family owned a large amount of land in the area and when everyone lived off that land. When John David takes his great-something aunt, Martha Toole, back to the old homestead for a visit, he encounters an unexpected woman on the land: the ghost of Martha Toole when she was young.
This was a fantastic story full of magical realism. From the beginning I was drawn in by the old woman who couldn’t seem to embrace the present but was firmly rooted in her remembrances of the past. I loved the struggle of nostalgia versus reality. The author has a powerful way of writing that hooked me: it’s slow and steady like the land itself. The story weaves the past and present together through the characters, mixing the fantastical with the ordinary seamlessly. The characters’ connection to the land, family, and past is both heart-warming and sad. This is a beautiful, well-written story, one that’s difficult to tear yourself away from, and I highly recommend reading it.
The Life and Remembrances of Martha Toole is available here.
Jason Derr is the author of The Boston 395 and writes the 10 Questions With Indie Authors blog for the Huffington Post.