“A thrilling peek into a portal of history, dramatic and moving.”Kirkus Reviews
“Consistently impressive storytelling skills. Solidly entertaining from first page to last.”Midwest Book Review
Set in 1970 Madison Wisconsin during the tumultuous Viet Nam War period, amid campus unrest, rioting and protests Willa quietly works on her Ph.D. in Psychology. Following a class experiment on sensory deprivation Willa’s world is turned upside down by the sudden onset of dreams, visions, foreign memories, and the inexplicable ability to speak fluent French. While amused at first by her condition which she diagnoses as xenoglossia, her symptoms build, causing anxiety, sleep deprivation and depression. Her personal relationship, studies, and mental health spiral downward. With little help from her psychologist boyfriend, she is left with only her own instincts and resourcefulness. Following fragments of information scattered throughout her delusions, she begins a manic journey in pursuit of the meaning behind and the cause of her symptoms. The journey leads her to an unlikely ally and an incredible discovery.
The narrative entwines the fictional story of an eight-year-old boy, Will, within that period’s rich historic context. The story meticulously incorporates the history of logging in Wisconsin, the flu pandemic, Prohibition, World War I, and post-war American culture, specific to that time and place. Will’s story reflects the challenges, hardships, and ethnic discrimination faced and overcome by American immigrants, then and now.
These themes remain as relevant today as they were in 1920, and portray an archetypal immigrant experience, which is part of the proud, shared heritage of all Americans. The colorful language, rich history, characters, and Wild West atmosphere of the region will appeal to all readers.
Jim received a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University with a tri-major of education, psychology and history. Upon graduation, he taught high school history and psychology, but subsequently converted to capitalism, earned an MBA and went on to have a thirty year business career, during which he moved his family three times across the country.
In 1991 the family felt they were up for one more move and collectively decided to move back to Wisconsin.