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 most recently the author of When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine.Her 2005 novel "Any Bitter Thing, "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.”