By Peter Geye, Unbridled Books, $24.95, 241 pages

10When Noah Torr returns home to Misquah, Minnesota to help care for his ailing father, he does so with trepidation. He and his father have been estranged for years and have a tempestuous relationship strained by Olaf’s frequent absences from his family and the death of Noah’s mother years ago. Noah is therefore surprised to find more than he ever hoped for when answers about the past help him let go and move forward.

Set against the backdrop of the Great Lakes, Safe from the Sea is beautiful in its detail. The Lake is a character in its own right, altering the fortunes of both the characters in the book as well as providing a place for resolution for both father and son. Both Noah and Olaf, marked by deep regret initially, move to a place of acceptance, hope and release throughout the novel. This is a moving and well-crafted tale and a very satisfying debut novel.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern