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When we get there : a novel
Shauna Seliy
Adult Fiction SELIY

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her elegiac debut novel, Seliy explores one boy's coming-of-age over the course of a long, eventful, brutally cold winter. In 1974, 13-year-old Lucas Lessar's family lives in the shadow of one of western Pennsylvania's last remaining coal mines, King Mine in Banning. Lucas's father was killed there years ago; the mine is now about to be shuttered. As the book opens, Lucas's mother, Mirjana, who has been in "a long sleep" of grief and depression, has disappeared. Her suitor, Zoli, threatens Lucas to learn her whereabouts; anguished Lucas, who narrates, doesn't know and is protected by his close-knit extended family (of eastern European descent). Inspired mostly by his larger-than-life great-grandfather, Lucas sets out to find his mother and make her life better. He comes to recognize how loss-of his parents, but also of his immigrant family's work and ethnic identities-has shaped his life. Lucas is an authentic adolescent who, despite his anger (Zoli continues to rage, too) and taciturnity, develops empathy and transforms into a sympathetic young man. Suffused with close observations of family legends, superstitions and cultural traditions, Seliy's accomplished debut bids a bittersweet farewell to one way of life while anticipating promise down the road. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Lucas Lessar is essentially left an orphan after the death of his father in a coal-mining accident and the disappearance of his mother. Raised by his grandmother (known to all as Slats because of her long, gangly legs) and his extended Hungarian immigrant family, Lucas eventually sets out to find his mother so that he can redeem himself for not taking quick action when her castoff boyfriend set fire to the pear tree that symbolizes his family's hope. The teenaged Lucas has good intentions, but he lacks the grounding to make the right choices. Unfortunately, this novel about growing up does not display the flair of classics of the genre. The prose is ordinary, if not pedantic; the characters never seem to lift off the pages; and the pacing is slow and slightly off kilter. A purchase for regional collections where the setting and story of rural coal-mining communities are of interest.--Caroline Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lucas
Boy
Age: 13
Looking for his mother; mother ran way because she was depressed about her husband's death.



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