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A View of the Lake

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Beryl Singleton Bissell, nationally renowned author of The Scent of God, shares her experience of life on Minnesota’s Lake Superior North Shore in this collection of essays that follows her journey to find her place in a small northern town.


These tales of the singular joys and challenges of moving from a city to a rural area will resonate with anyone who dreams of downsizing, picking up and moving to a life alongside a lake and its denizens. Each chapter captures the nature of the North Shore and the ways in which everything and everyone is shaped by the Big Lake.


Fans of her first book will feel right at home with the warm, insightful prose that has made Bissell so successful. For residents or frequent visitors, and hopeful travelers who have yet to experience its charms, A View of the Lake is a direct route to the North Shore. Softcover. 5-1/2" x 8-1/2", 176 pages. ISBN: 978-0-942235-74-6 The Minneapolis Star Tribune selected A View of the Lake as one of the best regional books of 2011.

What Reviewers are Saying

"One of my very favorite authors has done it again - written a book so compelling and readable that you feel like you are RIGHT there with her, experiencing life, love, and nature on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Beryl Singleton Bissell's new book, A View of the Lake: Living the Dream on Lake Superior, is one that you absolutely MUST have. You might tear through it all at once, as I did (on the porch looking out at our lake, during a rainstorm, mug of hot tea in hand), or take it slowly ... While the book is centered around being on the Big Lake... Beryl looks inward (both geographically and physically) and explores what it is like to live there, on the majestic, ever-changing Lake. The setting practically glows with the love Beryl imbues in her writing - lucky visitors can attest to the beauty of place. That simple joy of being somewhere you love shines through, in this extraordinary book, written in her tiny red writing shed next to the Lake." -- Dr. Jessie Voigts, Wandering Educators http://www.wanderingeducators.com/best/stories/book-review-view-lake.html


"A delightful book, sure to engage . . . [t]he author of the beautiful memoir The Scent of God reels the reader in again with her elegant prose. This book could be a primer for anyone considering a move to the North Shore. It's not painless making the transition from urban to rural life and frequently married couples find that one or the other makes the transition more easily. Beryl's willingness to share how the house on the lake became home for both of them makes this an intensely personal book. -- Rhonda Silence, Cook County News Herald


"A great immersion into life up the Shore, both humorous and sweet." Laurie Hertzel, Minneapolis Star Tribune


". . . landscape, family, friends and the lure of the body of water that draws Minnesotans" Mary Ann Grossmann , St. Paul Pioneer Press


"Don¹t think for a moment A View of the Lake is another tired tale of the big-city dweller who moves to and then playfully and condescendingly marvels at the backwardness of a small town and small-town life. Not from author Beryl Singleton Bissell, whose earlier memoir, The Scent of God, was as remarkable as it was relatable. Her spiritual journey of self-discovery continues, this time with a physical pilgrimage, too, from the chaos and congestion of Minneapolis to the breadth and beauty of Lake Superior. Reading her short stories is like collecting stones along big lake's rugged shoreline. So many are so beautiful you can¹t help but pick them and refuse to let them go ­ until you realize you¹re carrying the North Shore and its spirit with you." --­ Chuck Frederick, Duluth News Tribune


"Beryl Singleton Bissell has created something magical in this singular book of brief, lovely essays drawn from her years living on the shores of Lake Superior. Her experience of life within nature --the wheeling gulls, the spring blooms, the rocky shoreline of the primal waters which roar and then retreat-- became, through her connection with both nature and reader, my own. At once evocative, calming and deeply spiritual, Bissell's writing is something to be treasured." – Alison McGhee, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Shadow Baby, a novel, and Someday, a picture book for all ages, among others.


Beryl Singleton Bissell’s charming A View from the Lake offers those not fortunate enough to have a home with a view of the grandeur of Lake Superior the vicarious pleasure of sharing its marvels. Though the author states that this is “a narrative of two ordinary lives transposed into an extraordinary setting where nature and a small community became our teachers,” it becomes clear, chapter by chapter, that Beryl and her husband Bill have an extraordinary capacity to appreciate the beauty, the history, the trials, and even the dangers that abide in this northern landscape. Through the author’s perceptive eyes, the reader experiences the gifts and dilemmas of each season. Bissell embraces and is embraced by the small community of Schroeder, Minnesota, and, over twelve years, becomes integrated into the place and the astonishing landscape that surrounds it. For those who have visited Lake Superior, this book will recall memories of its allure. For those eager to enjoy a vivid journey to this majestic inland sea, A View from the Lake is a splendid introduction. --Emilie Buchwald, publisher emeritus, Milkweed Editions


“As befits the author of the spiritual memoir The Scent of God Beryl Bissell’s view from the greatest great lake is an inward one. She and her husband make the risky decision to trade their big house and busy, successful city lives for a quieter existence in a humbler house on the North Shore. The transition isn’t easy, but it is right: Their seasons on Lake Superior bring her insights, and she shares these lessons of the heart with us – beautifully – along with vivid details of the experiences that led to them. Her personal story – of her life before the lake and the solace that the lake provides – is gently woven throughout. So are unexpected encounters with nature – nosy black bears that leave paw-prints on the windows; fragile songbirds that Beryl helps to band; the power of winter ice piling up like crystal on the rocks below the house. But the people of the lake are her real subject. Where most of us would see only landscape, Beryl finds community, and that is the best gift of all. As I read, I found myself identifying with once-skeptical friends who gazed out from her windows and felt the great lake fill them with peace. -– Catherine Watson, travel writer and author of Roads Less Traveled and Home on the Road