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Indiana Winter

"Stone," the first story in Indiana Winter begins: "My home is a harbor. It floats on limestone high above the Ohio." The last essay, "In the Suburbs," begins: "My mother is mentally ill, and I'm a writer."

In between this geological bedrock and the most personal of struggles, Susan Neville gives us a fascinating collection of essays and stories on the state of our world, including a look at prisons and jails, country churches, small towns and farms, the John Dillinger Museum, John Mellencamp's art opening in Seymour, a mental hospital on the night the Gulf War started, and New Harmony Indiana on the day Iben Browning predicted that an earthquake would destroy it.

Of particular interest is the essay "Nineveh," about the ten days it took to move Indiana farm families that had lived in southern Indiana for generations from their farms to factory towns. The land was taken by the government and turned into Camp Atterbury, an army camp that housed German and Italian prisoners of war during World War II. During those ten chaotic days, houses and schools and churches were destroyed, barracks were built, and lives were changed forever.

"Susan Neville reminds us that we live simultaneously in two landscapes, outward and inward. You will find in these gutsy, eloquent pages the familiar Indiana of suburbs and towns, farms and army camps, basketball hoops and sycamores, limestone andd locusts. But you will also find a private Indiana, shaped by memories, riven by the fault lines of doubt and grief, lit by imagination. The journey through both landscapes is by turns harrowing and enchanting: I'm very glad i made the trip."