about the book

They found Hugo Mitchum face down

in the water and the lily-weeds,

thanks to the bloody trail someone left behind

when they dragged him through the snow.

When brutish miner Hugo Mitchum is found murdered on the frozen shore of a North Country lake, Beau Caelais’s local officials and town gossips alike are quick to blame Marietta Abernathy, outspoken environmental activist and angry, witchy recluse. But when Marietta herself goes missing under mysterious circumstance during a blizzard, her sixteen year old daughter Lena must make sense of strange artifacts and unsettling memories in order to find her.

As Lena learns more about her mother, the uncomfortable past of a community that shuns her, and the world her mother hoped to build instead, she must also grapple with the void left in her wake. While her father’s grief threatens to consume him and her adoptive Aunt Bea reckons with guilt and acceptance, it is the haunting town outcast Ellis Olsen who might have the most to lose if Lena fails to find her mother.

    Part eco-Nordic noir, part magical realist examination of power, identity, and myth, Things We Found When the Water Went Down is a story that asks us to explore what it means to heal—or not—after violence.

Available now!


Translucent prose, a masterful structure —like water, or light.”

Marjorie Sandor, judge for the 2013 Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction

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Madison, WI, USA