(Press Release) Kansas City, MO July 20, 2009 – In his new memoir AReport from Winter, Kansas City author Wayne Courtois returns to his Maine roots and delivers a no-holds-barred account of death in a dysfunctional family.
But the book is more than a personal account of traveling home and losing a parent—in this case, Courtois’s mother, Jennie. It’s also a tribute to the support of a life partner. The contrast between traditional family bonds and the nurturing relationship between Courtois and his mate is as sharp as the wind sweeping in from the sea.
Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear, noted in his advance review of the book that “Courtois is a smart and gifted writer, shrewd and compassionate, with a godlike eye for detail. A Report from Winter is filled with beautiful sentences from beginning to end. It’s a stunning book.”
Jerry Wheeler offered similar praise in his review for the Out in Print book blog: “Courtois has an incredible eye for detail, and an impeccable intuition about which detail is the most telling. He can break your heart and do so in a way that also brings a smile to your face. And the writing is just so damn good.”
Published by Lethe Press, Winter is available in Kindle format as well as paperback.
A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois – a review by author Dan Stone (Posted with permission)
Words like `pathos’ are sometimes tossed about rather indiscriminately, but when a book like Wayne Courtois’s A Report from Winter comes along, there are only certain words that fully capture the apparent intention and achieved effect. In this extraordinarily compelling and bittersweet account of the author’s return to the wintry Maine landscape of his childhood and his experience at the bedside of his terminally ill mother, Courtois pulls back the curtain on a chilly, troubled New England family, offering a jumble of uncomfortable images as scattered and chaotic as the disorderly drawers full of photographs in his mother’s uninhabited house–and an uneasy reflection on the awkward ties that still bind him to his kin.
He also adeptly contrasts this relatively bleak family portrait with the surprisingly warm and loving relationship he has found with his partner, Ralph, who, if not the prototypical knight in shining armor, nonetheless provides an emotional foundation that grounds and warms this intensely personally memoir and that offers welcome hopefulness to the somewhat grim telling of the author’s story.
A Report from Winter is not an easy book to read. It hurts at times to get this close to the wounded and to feel such freely offered angst and doubt. But it’s not all wintry gloom. There are welcome glints of humor that illuminate the somber skies of this story. And despite the often sinking feeling this book invites us to share, it still manages to rise to the occasion of suggesting that no matter how unlikely or late in the game, peaceful endings are still possible–and that good things can still come to those who wait.
Wayne Courtois was born in Portland, Maine, and currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his husband-in-every-sense-but-legal, Ralph Seligman. In January 2009 they celebrated 20 years together.
A graduate of the MFA Program at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Wayne is author of the novels My Name Is Rand, published by Suspect Thoughts Press, and the forthcoming A Pardoner’s Tale. His short fiction has appeared in journals including The Greensboro Review and Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly; in the webzines suspect thoughts: a journal of subversive writing and Velvet Mafia; and in anthologies such as Of the Flesh, Love Under Foot, Best Gay Erotica, Out of Control, and Country Boys. Nonfiction work has appeared in I Do/I Don’t: Queers on Marriage; Walking Higher: Gay Men Write about the Deaths of Their Mothers; and the forthcoming The Lost Library: Gay Fiction Rediscovered.
Wayne has served on his local Ryan White Planning Council, and as a grantwriter in the not-for-profit sector he has helped to raise millions for HIV/AIDS services, hospice care, and the arts. Currently he is working on a book-length work of speculative fiction. Please visit http://www.reportfromwinter.com and write to firstname.lastname@example.org.