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The Winter in Anna: A Novel by Reed Karaim

The Winter in Anna: A Novel

by Reed Karaim

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357500,934 (3.86)1
"A young man, Eric, drops out of college and lucks into a job with a small-town newspaper where he meets Anna - woman whose story will both haunt and inspire him for the rest of his life. Set in a remote North Dakota community in the last days before the Internet, The Winter in Anna unfolds around a romance that almost was, and a meditation on what constitutes a life well lived. In wistful, moving reflections, Eric looks back on his days with Anna and struggles to reconcile his memories with what he has since learned of her."--Amazon.com.… (more)
  1. 00
    The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: similar story line: young journalism major takes on an outsized task. Upper midwest setting. Sympathetic characters with heavy doses of dysfunction.

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Set in bleak North Dakota, The Winter in Anna is a character-driven tale about a callow college dropout who gets a job at a small town newspaper and befriends a coworker, a woman whose dreadful secrets eventually lead to tragedy. I liked the descriptions and the interactions between the characters, and I found it to be a quick read, but it is not essential by any means. ( )
  akblanchard | May 10, 2018 |
The Winter in Anna
By Reed Karaim
Narrated By Will Damron
Published 2017 by Dreamscape Media, LLC
7 hours and 23 minutes

I received a free audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I’m a big fan of literary fiction—when it’s well done—but The Winter in Anna was not what I consider to be well done. Ricky, the narrator of this story, was not a particularly interesting or complex character. The majority of the story consists of Ricky telling the story of Anna, his co-worker and friend who committed suicide. I definitely think Anna was more complex and interesting but I would have liked to learn more about Anna from a different perspective than Ricky. In addition, the writing wasn’t especially noteworthy. It felt like there was a lot of filler material to make the story longer but that didn’t really add to the story or the understanding of the characters. I was frequently bored with the story and had no emotional involvement with the characters.

I can’t say that I recommend this book but it wasn’t terrible either. The story had potential and the writing was average. The narrator, Will Damron, has the perfect voice and style for literary fiction. There were times in this particular book where I felt his narration was overly dramatic but I think that may have had more to do with my lack of connection to the story than with his performance. I’ve added him to my list of narrators to watch for. ( )
  cwhisenant11 | Jun 16, 2017 |
This is a beautiful little book that is a both a coming of age story and a meditation on loss. The story begins with Anna's suicide, years after the rest of the narrative takes place. The story is told by a mature Eric Valery as he reflects upon her death, and her life.

Eric (Rick) Valery drops out of college one semester short of graduation to become a local sports writer for a small town weekly newspaper in Shannon, North Dakota, on the edge of the badlands. Within weeks, he is promoted to editor. Anna also works on the newspaper: a single mother of two preteens, young but not so young as Rick, and a woman full of hesitancy. Anna and Eric quickly become friends as they work together on the final assembly of the paper on Thursday nights. He teaches her how to develop photos for the paper and they often function as a reporting team on local events in this time before the digital age.

Through the narrative, Eric reveals tidbits of Anna's past as he learned them during his tenure at the Shannon Sentinel. He also experiences the loss of his father during that year.

The story is populated with an interesting cast of small town locals. Their characters fill out and blossom as Eric matures in his first job and gains a greater understanding of life's complexities. The North Dakota landscape and seasons are beautifully described and are integral to the story.

The writing often prose and beautifully written. I give it 4 stars. ( )
  tangledthread | May 15, 2017 |
  CheryleFisher | Mar 7, 2017 |
4.5 stars
We know from the opening paragraph that things don't end well for Anna. What follows is a quiet contemplative trip down memory lane for Eric, who worked at a small town newspaper with Anna many years ago.

Anna's story is slowly revealed through Eric's musings. There's a tragedy in her past, a devastating one that forever changes her, and helps to explain what drove her to do what she did. Her burden was great and she chose Eric as the one person in the world she shared her story with.

Eric was 20 years old at the time, and Anna 10 years older. With a maturity that comes with time and age, Eric now sees Anna with a new understanding of her life and just what her friendship meant.

The prose is beautiful with sentences and paragraphs that resonated with me. The story is a sad one but so beautiful I'm glad I read it. I finished it a couple of days ago and I still find myself thinking about it. There are so many Annas in the world, with souls that are battered and broken. We don't know their stories but we would do well to be kind and treat people with care.

( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
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This is for Lisa.
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"It was quiet..." Anna said again, and that was the start. Over many nights, in fragments, she told me her story. The effect was like turning something broken over in your hand and trying to imagine it whole.
He worked on an oil rig. He was from somewhere else. He had a shock of blond hair like a flare of sun and a face that was all perfect angles smudged with the greasy war paint of his adventure.
The Great Plains make dreamers the way New York makes hustlers
It never occurred to her to worry about being alone in the country. This was her home and it was empty but for the brilliant stars and the shadows of the hills and the moon already distant on the far side of the sky.
I went back to the university and missed most of the worst, but college life, which already echoed with too much of my young past, now felt as insignificant as a children's play put on in the basement on a slow winter day.
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