Saturday October 18, 2014: Ithaca Book Launch in Waterloo, Ontario
2-4 pm, Waterloo Public Library
Refreshments, reading, book sales and signing, all are welcome
Author Susan Fish releases Ithaca, a novel about an unlikely environmental activist
For 39 years, Daisy Turner has been a professor’s wife, typing his notes and helping out. The centerpiece of her life is a weekly community dinner she hosts—one that always features soup. And then, one day, her husband drops dead. Daisy has nothing to hold onto—except, perhaps, the soup. Then, suddenly, Daisy finds herself entangled with a man whose wife is disabled, mothering a young activist-farmer, and swept into the controversy about fracking that has begun to concern their small Ivy League town.
Ithaca (October 1, 2014, Storywell, $14.99) explores what happens when a quiet, almost sedimentary life meets the high-pressure forces of small town life. How do you rebuild after life as you know it is suddenly turned upside down—or is fracked?
What Is Fracking?
Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is a means of extracting natural gas and oil from shale rock by means of sending a highly pressurized cocktail of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth, fracturing the rock, and allowing small pockets of previously inaccessible gas and oil to be retrieved. Fracking companies purchase drilling rights on land that can otherwise be used by farmers and other landowners. While fracking began in a rudimentary way in the 1940s, its technology has exploded and proliferated in the last decade, changing the domestic energy landscape in many countries. Fracking has also been sharply criticized by many as an under-regulated and under-studied technology that leads to earthquakes, pollutes the water table and causes profound environmental damage.
Birth of the Novel
“I visited the town of Ithaca, New York in the summer of 2011 and saw a number of small signs that said ‘No Fracking.’ Months later, curious, I looked up the term and discovered that the lush farmlands, orchards and vineyards of Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region sat on the gas-rich Marcellus Shale, and that there were proposals to ‘frack’ the land to address our petroleum addiction. There was—and is—significant grassroots opposition to this action. At the same time, New York State had been hit hard by the 2008 recession, with many family farms at risk of foreclosure: selling drilling rights was a tempting proposition that led to deep soul searching for many.
“Around the same time, I was also intrigued by houses in my neighborhood that had not been decorated by interior designers but instead had gained their artifacts over years of living. I was fascinated by the concepts of community and the simple power of food in bringing people together.
“Finally, the title and themes of this book both reflect and turn upside down Homer’s Odyssey where Odysseus strives to get home to Ithaca where his faithful wife awaits him.”
About the Author
Susan Fish is a writer and editor living in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada with her husband and three teenage children. She operates Storywell, an editing company that helps people tell their stories well. She has one previously published novel, Seeker of Stars (Winding Trail Press, 2005; Cook 2013) and more than 200 published articles. She has won awards locally and nationally for poetry and fiction.