Into The Wilderness
wins IPPY Gold Medal for Regional Fiction
Into The Wilderness Praise
"Rose Mayer is a feisty character: gutsy, ethnic, working class, politically forward, spiritual – and still sexy. Luskin handles all the tensions of small town life perfectly: flatlanders and woodchucks, Democrats and Republicans, Jews and Christians, working class and professionals, young and old, men and women and —especially—love and time.
Into the Wilderness is a poignant description of a specific place—the real Vermont—at a specific moment in its fabled history. But it is also a timeless story of human fulfillment, a gift that can only come (if it comes at all) with growing old. Thus it must be and thankfully is a love story. Luskin knows Vermont. But more importantly she knows love. And she puts them together with honesty, fairness and courage. Look out Howard Mosher."
author of Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works
and UVM John G. McCullough Professor of Political Science
"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. But all of that happened with Into The Wilderness: I finished the book with a catch in my throat, and the firm sense that Rose wouldn't be leaving my house any time soon, but was in fact out in the kitchen tending methodically to a brisket of beef. Or down at the general store, settling the hash of the lone local anti-Semite. Either way, I couldn't have been more delighted.
I fell in love with Rose. Very spunky, very fiery, very sympathetic, and the perfect subject to drop down into such a pitch-perfect period setting . . . It's a lovely study of these two lovers, and their moments of enlightenment and frustration . . . The picture of these two married in that Siamese house connected by the kitchen is too perfect, and the attention to Yiddish and kosher cooking made for really informative, interesting reading."
author of The Brothers Boswell
“An absorbing, affectionate, and often funny slice of early 1960’s Vermont life. Many of us who experienced that era’s “flatlanders’ migration” will surely appreciate lively protagonist Rose Mayer’s unexpected but enduring love affair with the Green Mountain state.”
Kingdom County Productions
"Into the Wilderness is a fine novel that offers a highly engaging story of Vermont in the early 60s. It was a time when political expectations, social norms, and personal relationships were both challenged and enriched by an influx of new residents. Deborah Luskin explores such changes through her central character of Rose Mayer, a Jewish widow transplanted from Florida to Orton, Vermont, a long-settled town of 290. As an admirer of Roosevelt, a former factory-worker encountering an agricultural world, and an unembarrassed questioner about things that surprise her, Rose both invigorates and is stimulated by the culture of this deeply Republican village she has come to call home. Both her humor and her emotional openness make her a vivid focus for the novel--especially in the touching romance that blossoms between her and the appealing old bachelor Percy Mendell. Another particular pleasure in this novel is its account of early days at the Marlboro Festival, one of the important venues through which classical music and performers from around the world put down their own roots in Vermont."
author of Reading the Mountains of Home
and Middlebury College Professor of English and Environmental Studies.