BOOKS

Katharine Haake's The Time of Quarantine is the latest in a recent flurry of distinguished dystopian novels. Like Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake and Cormac McCarthy's The Road, The Time of Quarantine takes place after unthinkable environmental disasters have come to pass, yet Haake's ruined world is far more nuanced than Atwood's and infinitely more tender than McCarthy's. Her post-apocalyptic story of loss and redemption is compelling, but the real wonder is Haake's prose: every paragraph, every sentence its own fantastic realm ---- equal parts nightmare and dream. ---- David Starkey, author of It Must Be Like the World
 
In her brilliant novel The Time of Quarantine, Haake spins a dream of the future that is intricate, fantastic, and apocalyptic, and yet grounded in the everyday and the domestic. World disasters are filtered through the family and come to rest in the psyches of individuals who are the protagonists of this imaginative and also plausible speculative novel. Like Haake's masterful work That Water, Those Rocks, Quarantine unforgettably evokes the landscape of Northern California's river country, but this novel visits the desert as well for a parabolic symposium about the future. And like her other genre- bending works, this one engages the reader in multiple narratives and viewpoints, raveling and unraveling a story that is disturbing and inspiring, truthfully telling of our planet's woes and also artfully evoking its capacity for rebirth. 
---- Annette Leddy, author of Earth Still

Katharine Haake's Origin of Stars is as beautiful and transcendent as the Milky Way. At the center of each story is the heartbreaking vulnerability of her characters, discovering the most important reason for being alive as the world crashes in around us ---- to connect with each other, as Katharine Haake connects with us. ---- Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief and Animal Crackers, recipient of the 2009 PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editorial Excellence

Katharine Haake's beautiful stories are shockingly original. I read with the sense that I had entered a brand new terrain of the imagination. Her characters are revealed with a deep compassion, and the intimate worlds they inhabit are both familiar and wonderfully strange.
 ---- Jane McCafferty, author of One Heart and Thank You For the Music

These are wonderful, wonderful stories full of dreamy mystery and sharp humor. They twist and turn in ways that will make you gasp -- and the writing will do the same thing, make you want to call up a friend and tell her about your amazing good fortune in finding and reading such wonderful stories from such a writer. This collection is what it's all about. ---- Sharman Russell, author of Standing in the Light and Hunger

With the mesmerizing voice of a natural-born storyteller, Haake takes the "idea of a story," as she puts it, to create a novel that reads like a memoir. Or is it a memoir that reads like a parable? A parable that sounds like a poem? By book's end, neither the author nor reader can say. In a paean to the craft of writing and strength of language, Haake mixes her family's oral history with that of California's natural one, imparting a rich narrative of rivers, dams, and floods, mothers, sons and daughters. At its heart is the Shasta Dam project, both boondoggle and benefit to California's central valley. At its soul, two young girls, one raped, one blind. Weaving fiction with fact, Haake equates nature's basic elements (earth, fire, water) with those of mankind (love, livelihood, safety). Whether spinning a tale or stating the truth, Haake's eloquence has as much power to move mountains as the engineers and surveyors whose dams so dramatically changed the landscape of her beloved home. ---- Carol Haggas

That Water, Those Rocks is like a finely made watch with a transparent case that allows us to look inside and admire not only the beautiful ornamentation but the way it all works. ---- Jonathan Kirsch, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

 


 

Katharine Haake's The Height and Depth of Everything is a book of journeys in which displaced women make unsettling forays into the new West. There, some violent expression of nature disrupts their lives, forcing them to readjust their vision of the world. Like the places they live ---- Washington state in the aftermath of the eruption of Mount St. Helens; the rubble-strewn epicenter of Southern California after a recent earthquake; the flooded streets of a desert town in Utah ---- the characters in this collection are all "picking up the pieces" of lives shaken by both natural and spiritual disaster. In the precariousness of their lives, these characters find redemption by submitting to the indeterminacy of human life.

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© 2017 by Katharine Haake