The Center of Winter: A Novel

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Feb 1, 2005 - Fiction - 326 pages
56 Reviews

At the center of winter, in Motley, Minnesota, Arnold Schiller gives in to the oppressive season that reigns outside and also to his own inner demons -- he commits suicide, leaving a devastated family in his wake.

Claire Schiller, wife and mother, takes shelter from the emotional storm with her husband's parents but must ultimately emerge from her grief and help her two young children to recover. Esau, her oldest, is haunted by the same darkness that plagued his father. At twelve years old, he has already been in and out of state psychiatric hospitals, and now, with the help of his mother and sister, he must overcome the forces that drive him deep into himself. But as the youngest, perhaps it is Katie who carries the heaviest burden. A precocious six-year-old who desperately wants to help her mother hold the family together, she will have to come to terms with the memory of her father, who was at once loving and cruel.

Narrated alternately by Claire, Katie, and Esau, this powerful and passionate novel explores the ways in which both children and adults experience tragic events, discover solace and hope in one another, and survive. The Center of Winter finds humor in unlikely places and evokes the north -- its people and landscape -- with warmth, sensitivity, and insight. The story of three people who, against all odds, find their way out of the center of winter, Marya Hornbacher's debut novel will leave you breathless, tearful, and ultimately inspired.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
19
4 stars
17
3 stars
14
2 stars
4
1 star
2

Wonderful, descriptive writing. - Goodreads
Thank god the ending didn't make me cry more. - Goodreads
Very moving, with an interesting writing style. - Goodreads
I adore her writing. - Goodreads
I sincerely envy Hornbacher's skills as a writer. - Goodreads

Review: The Center of Winter

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

Wonderful, descriptive writing. A good story, but a little sad. Read full review

Review: The Center of Winter

User Review  - Heather - Goodreads

Interesting book. Alot like Vinegar Hill. Read full review

About the author (2005)

Marya Hornbacher is a journalist as well as a writer of fiction and memoir. Her first book, Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia, has become a classic. The Center of Winter is her first novel. She lives in Minneapolis.

Bibliographic information