Into the Wilderness
Deborah Lee Luskin
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Deborah Lee Luskin’s critically acclaimed love story, Into the Wilderness, follows Rose Mayer after she has just buried her second husband and wonders what she's going to do with the rest of her life. The year is 1964, and Rose is no longer a young woman. Reluctantly, she visits her son at his summer place in Vermont, where there are neither sidewalks, Democrats nor other Jews. There is, however, the Marlboro Music Festival. It’s there that she meets Percy Mendell, a born and bred Vermonter who has never married, never voted for a Democrat, and never left the state.
Both Rose and Percy confront habits of a lifetime, habits that interfere with their undeniable attraction to one another. Rose confronts her religious ignorance and spiritual beliefs, while Percy is forced to question his life-long political faith. All this takes place in the small Vermont town of Orton, (pop. 290).
Into the Wilderness is a tale of the outsider infiltrating a new community – and how all parties negotiate their differences. It’s also a tale of rural Vermont at mid-century, a time when the major technological advance was the Interstate highway, a road-building project that changed rural America as much as the information highway is changing the world today.
Readers routinely say, “I didn’t want it to end – but I couldn’t put it down.” Into The Wilderness has been hailed as “a fiercely intelligent love story” and “a perfectly gratifying read.”
“Into the Wilderness is a poignant description of a specific place—but it is also a timeless story of human fulfillment,” says Frank Bryan of UVM.
“Luskin's heroine Rose Mayer is an honest to God miracle. Rarely has a fictional creation come to seem so perfectly real to me, and never have I cheered — out loud — as a character in a novel worked her way through the last stages of grief,” adds author Philip Baruth.
Deborah Lee Luskin often writes about Vermont, where she has lived since 1984. She is a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, a free-lance journalist, and a Visiting Scholar for the Vermont Humanities. Into The Wilderness is her first published novel.