Season of Water and Ice
a novel by Donald Lystra
published by Switchgrass Books
- Named a Michigan Notable Book
- Winner of the Midwest Book Award for fiction
SEASON OF WATER AND ICE is the unforgettable story of two young people confronting life during a tumultuous few months of 1957. In quiet but searing prose, it explores the timeless issues of love and family, the destructive forces to which these ideals are exposed, and the healing powers which can restore them.
Danny DeWitt, aged fourteen, lives with his father in a rural area of northern Michigan following the family’s abrupt move from the city and the unexplained departure of his mother. Bookish and friendless—and wanting to “stand at the side of things for a while”—Danny becomes acquainted with Amber Dwyer, a pregnant teenager abandoned by her boyfriend and rejected by her family and community. Both outsiders—one by choice, the other because of social stigma—Danny and Amber form an unusual, openhearted alliance which helps each to deal with their separate challenge. Amber must build a life for herself in the face of intolerance, and Danny must come to terms with his mother’s rejection and his father’s growing isolation. The friendship is tested when Amber’s abusive boyfriend returns and Danny’s mother draws further away, leading to a crisis which threatens Amber and her unborn child, as well as Danny’s conception of love and manhood.
Reflecting the political and social climate of the 1950s, Season of Water and Ice is underscored by themes of independence and obligation, love and sexuality, courage and surrender.
"Rich and wise and beautifully written."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Lystra's graceful prose is evocative of place and time....This is a rich and satisfying read."
—The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"The north woods of Michigan in 1957 proves rich emotional ground for Lystra's quietly impressive debut novel."
"This is a love story of a most unusual kind....There is a kind of innocence...that has
not been so effectively portrayed since Salinger invented Holden Caulfield. Lystra's
style is spare and direct and yet profoundly evocative....An absolutely stunning debut."