Across the Great Lake (Paperback)

Across the Great Lake By Lee Zacharias Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


In the brutally cold winter of 1936, as his wife lies dying, Henrik Halvorsen takes their daughter with him on a perilous journey. Captain of the coal-fired Manitou, he is charged with transporting railroad cars across an icy Lake Michigan. Five-year-old Fern revels in the freedom of the ferry, making friends with a stowaway cat and a gentle young deckhand, before the sighting of a ghostly ship presages danger for all aboard. Eight decades later, Fern reflects on the dark secret she has kept since that ill-fated voyage.

About the Author

Lee Zacharias is the author of four previous books, including The Only Sounds We Make and Lessons, a Book of the Month Club selection. Her work has appeared in the Best American Essays series. Born in Chicago and raised in Hammond, Indiana, she is professor emerita of English at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Praise For…

"One of the most intensely written and beautifully conceived novels to come my way in many a season. It is also among the most gripping, and it maintains its hold until the final period—and even beyond. I will be thinking about these characters for a long, long time. Seldom have I read a story with so much life on every page. Zacharias is a master."
—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

"Lee Zacharias is one of those profoundly rare writers, a natural. Her voice is one you can trust, and her characters are real, moving, and come from the experience of someone who knows what trouble human beings get themselves into."
—Craig Nova, author of The Good Son

“Exquisite. . . . A wise book, written with uncommon care. Not unlike the great lake of its title, this story has much to discover beneath its surface.”—Greensboro News & Record

“Zacharias has brought history to the page with great skill.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Paints a vivid picture of the tumultuous winter conditions that impede travel and provides poetic details of daily life on board the huge ship and all its mechanics.”—Shepherd Express

“Such a palpable sense of how sharp and how painful childhood memories can be. Zacharias takes us back, in more ways than one.”—Wilmington Star News

“Simply put, this is an extraordinary novel.”—Michigan in Books

“Hauntingly good. . . . Beautifully crafted.”—YES! Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780299320942
ISBN-10: 0299320944
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2020
Pages: 248
Language: English