The paper mill looms up from the riverbank in Abbott Falls, Maine, a town once drenched with ordinary hopes and dreams, now praying for a small drop of good fortune. Ernie Whitten, a pipe fitter, was three weeks away from a pension-secured retirement when the union went on strike eight months ago. Now his wife Marie is ill. Struck with sudden inspiration, Ernie builds a giant ark in his backyard. It is a work of art for his wife; a vessel to carry them both away; or a plea for God to spare Marie, come hell or high water. As the ark takes shape, the rest of the town carries on. There’s Dan Little, a building-code enforcer who comes to fine Ernie for the ark and makes a significant discovery about himself; Francine Love, a precocious thirteen-year-old who longs to be a part of the family-like world of the union workers; and Atlantic Pulp & Paper CEO Henry John McCoy, an impatient man wearily determined to be a good father to his twenty-six-year-old daughter. The people of Abbott Falls will try their best to hold a community together, against the fiercest of odds. . . .
About the Author
Monica Wood is the author of four works of fiction, most recently "Any Bitter Thing, "which spent 21 weeks on the American Booksellers Association extended bestseller list and was named a Book Sense Top Ten pick. Her other fiction includes "Ernie's Ark" and "My Only Story", a finalist for the Kate Chopin Award.
“A MASTERPIECE . . . WOOD’S STORIES [ARE] FILLED WITH HOPE AND LIGHT.”
“Characters alternate between major and minor roles like players in a Robert Altman film. . . . Wood handles each voice with such grace that she disappears inside it right away. Her prose is careful yet still quivers. . . . Like an honest day’s work, it is both simple and more than enough.”
–San Francisco Chronicle
“The loving character portraits that form [these] stories help us understand not only the people of Maine but also the human condition.”
–The Boston Globe
“QUIETLY WONDERFUL FICTION . . .
Wood does a splendid job of building a whole out of these parts. Each story can easily stand alone, yet every new one contains an object or memory we’ve seen in a previous story, usually from another perspective. The overall effect is one of panorama, the sense that though we haven’t met everyone in Abbott Falls, we’ve cast a good long glance at the range of hopes and heartaches the town contains.”
–The Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A collection of unforeseen awakening and unconditional love . . . It’s clear that this Maine author has plenty of talent to share with the world.”
–Maine Sunday Telegram
“Ernie’s Ark, a series of nine interlinked short stories, contains all the depth and range of emotions that a full-length novel enjoys. . . . [Wood’s] strength is her ability to create clear and sympathetic voices for each of her many characters. By the time you finish reading Ernie’s Ark, you will have a whole chorus of voices in your head, each echoing the rhythms of small-town life.”
“An eight-month strike at the paper mill has shivered apart Abbott Falls as neatly as though it were a chunk of mica; in her stories, Wood takes these fragments and holds them up to the light, revealing a world at once self-contained and wonderfully complex. . . . A fine collection by an author whose writing continues to grow with each published work.”
–Down East magazine
“Wood’s gift as a writer is to invest her short stories with real emotion . . . [She] uses deceptively simple language and an obvious sympathy for her characters to keep the tale triumphantly afloat.”
–Casco Bay Weekly
“Wood does a remarkable job of illuminating the characters’ inner lives–from disgruntled union workers to a flower store owner in a troubled marriage–skillfully layering their brief but complex stories with humor, empathy, and melancholy.”
“Touching . . . These quirky stories reaffirm faith in human resilience.”