Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Long-Shining Waters” as Want to Read:
The Long-Shining Waters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Long-Shining Waters

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Lake Superior, the north country, the great fresh-water expanse. Frigid. Lethal. Wildly beautiful. The Long-Shining Waters gives us three stories whose characters are separated by centuries and circumstance, yet connected across time by a shared geography.

In 1622, Grey Rabbit—an Ojibwe woman, a mother and wife—struggles to understand a dream-life that has taken on fearful
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Milkweed Editions (first published March 30th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Long-Shining Waters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Long-Shining Waters

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 864)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Poetically written and beautifully structured (in a way meant to evoke the lapping and overlapping of waves), this book tells the stories of three women living along the shores of Lake Superior at different points in history, and it also includes the voice of a mysterious fourth character, who/which exists in what the author has called "lake-time." Loss is a major theme in the book, which makes it feel dark at times, but every main character also experiences love and demonstrates strength. I wou ...more
Laura (booksnob)
Three women across three different centuries, who live on the shores of Lake Superior, feel the power of The Long-Shining Waters. Lake Superior reflects a strong mysterious presence on the women as they travel through the individual days of their lives. Nora owns a bar and when her livelihood is destroyed she finds herself on a journey around the Lake. Berit lives an isolated life in 1902 and has a love/hate relationship with Lake Superior. Grey Rabbit is an Ojibwe woman in 1622 who has powerful ...more
The Long-Shining Waters is the perfect book to read on a cold Minnesota evening - evokes the smell of ice, the bleached-out color of rock and tree, the particular push-pull of the wind. There's something mesmerizing about the way Lake Superior ties together the stories of the three women at the heart of this book, separated by a span of several hundred years. For each, the Lake holds stories and knowledge that they're not exactly looking for; for each, their fortune and that of their families is ...more
The beauty of this book is in the image and the setting. There's a subtlety to the plot. What I found lacking, though, was the true development of situations and characters. This narrative takes place over three time periods and three women's stories. The most recent is the least compelling--a fire in the bar she owns drives a grandmother to travel around Superior. She spends time in hotels, a cabin, collects agates. The earliest, from the 1600s, is burdened by the distraction of historical fact ...more
It’s 1622, It’s 1902, It’s 2000 in Danielle Sosin’s debut novel “The Long-Shining Waters,” the story of three women living on Lake Superior.

Grey Rabbit lives with her two sons, husband and mother-in-law in the winter of 1622 on the shore of Lake Superior and it’s been rough hunting and everyone is starving. Meanwhile, she’s having wicked dreams starring dead children and it’s messing with her psyche. She’s waking at odd times, wandering around, being extra protective of her younger son Little Ce
Kathleen Ernst
This book unfolds primarily through the eyes of three women who live on the shores of Lake Superior: Grey Rabbit, in 1622; Berit, in 1902; and Nora, in 2000. The main character in this book, however, is the lake itself. The author has an uncanny ability to describe its every mood and nuance. The lake also emerges as a living entity itself, holding centuries of secrets and souls.

I enjoyed the alternating points of view, the strong sense of place, and the intimate portrait painted of a brief perio
Nan Gaunt
I had to read this book for a book group I'm in...I suggested it, because I went into a bookstore in Munising & the owner suggested it to me. I wanted to read a book about Lake Superior & this fit the bill. I read it once...went to the group to discuss it and found there were only 2 other people who had read it and the didn't like/understand it. The general consensus was that everyone felt frustrated.
I liked something about it. I liked the mystical sense of it, but, was unable to discus
Carol E.
Three women who live along Lake Superior, during three different centuries. Their stories are told concurrently, one chapter about one woman, the next about another woman, then chapters bounce between them. That style, while it could be a little jolting, helped the reader see the ties between the women, the location, the lake, and how each woman deals with a crisis/tragedy in her life.

A fun book that mentions many familiar places and landmarks. I liked all three characters; my least favorite of
Jan Kellis
The Long-Shining Waters is a celebration of Lake Superior. Three story lines, in three different centuries, are tied together by setting. Lake Superior has been here for eons, and will remain long after we're all gone. The stories in this book relate Superior's beauty, her strength and her fierce moods.

In 1622, an Indian settlement along Superior's shores survives various accidents and visions. In 1902, a young married couple homesteads on a remote beach. In 2000, a bar burns down, forcing the
There are certain things I like about the book--the inter-connectedness of the stories of the three women, the descriptions of Lake Superior, and the thematic unity of loss and recovery. But I found the fourth voice in the book (those pesky italicized sections) to be largely confusing and annoying. The author, in her discussion of the book at the SD Festival of the Book, said that the 4th voice is the voice of the dead Norwegian husband which expands to be the "voice of the lake" by the novel's ...more
my adopted Mom took me to the reading/signing event at Common Good Books in St Paul last night and gave me a copy of the book. there's a character in it named Gunnar, so the author signed it "to Gunnar" (my son, 11) and my Gunnar is so pleased. I'm in love with all of it--the mystical gorgeously written book, the author, who looks like a younger Cher without all the plastic & makeup, the bookstore where I wanted everything starting with the poetry section (Leonard Cohen collected poems/songs ...more
WM Rine
The Long-Shining Waters is one of the most unusual novels I have ever read, where a magical place, Lake Superior, becomes a central character in a novel spanning nearly four centuries via the loosely interlocking narratives of three women living along its shores -- Grey Rabbit, an Ojibwe woman living in the seventeenth century, Berit, a Scandianvian immigrant, and Nora, from the present day. Hardships, dreams, geography all weave their disparate experiences into a single story. Sosin's lyrical p ...more
I met Danielle Sosin at a reading and book signing and had high hopes for this novel.

However, it took me quite awhile to get into this book; I probably would have put the novel down earlier if I hadn't owned a signed copy. By the middle of the book, though, the story started to pick up speed. Berit and Gunnar's storyline was definitely my favorite, so I was a bit disappointed that Berit's story sort of tapered off in the novel--I wanted to see more of what might happen to her (as well as the ot
Beautifully moody, this book explores a snippet of life from each of three different women. All are living near Lake Superior. One story is of a Native American, one of a woman in the 1800's and one takes place in modern day. I do not pretend to have completely received the message of the author but I'm sure it's not because the author wasn't adept at presenting it. I am trying to understand the lyrical parts of the book that were at the end of some of the chapters. I had the idea that they are ...more
Anything about Lake Superior interests me. I loved being forced to imagine different time periods and women's lives. I found the characters interesting but wanted to know more about each especially at the end. The contemporary character i felt most close to probably for obvious reasons...i am contemporary and the author could be more convincing about a time she lives in. I especially found some quotable quotes...."

“The sediment rests in layers, grey matter from the south and red matter from the
Perhaps my brain just wasn't in order, or maybe I don't really know enough about the lake, but I think that a lot of this book flew right over my head. The beautiful description and realistic characters pulled me in. I loved the poetic transitions, but became lost in the plot as the stories of three women were told, all centering around the lake. I kept expecting some tie (other than the lake) to unify the three stories set centuries apart. Perhaps I missed the tie, like I said earlier, because ...more
Excellent book, following the tragedies and challenges faced by three women living on the shores of Lake Superior – one in 1622, one in 1902, and one in 2000. The story of each is powerful, and the strands that interweave, especially the lake, made it even more powerful. Each woman sees her face reflected in the Big Lake, which is “always changing, always wholly receptive.” Read on vacation at Cobblestone Cabins, on the shores of “the long shining waters.” Good writing, insights, moving passages ...more
This book was read by our book club. It evoked very different responses from our group. Two members positively loved it. Everyone loved the description of the lake, but nearly everyone was frustrated by something: overuse of adjectives, lack of plot, lack of story resolution. Personally, I quit reading at page 108 when she came to the description of the lens at Split Rock Lighthouse; it was described as a ‘bi-valve frenzel’. The lens is a Fresnel, and this is such an easy fact to check, it makes ...more
A very interesting book.. Sosin tells the story of 3 women who lived along Lake Superior. One Ojibway in 1622, one Norwegian in 1902, one woman in 2000. They all were dealing with tragedy in their lives, had dreams they were not sure of their meanings and witnessed the every changing lake.

The descriptions of the seasons, the woods, animals, roads, and especially of Lake Superior were more like painting than reading. But none of the stories really resolved themselves..
Miranda (M.E.) Brumbaugh
The subject matter was interesting, but the characters were unreachable because of the author's use of telling rather than showing. And don't get me started on all of the one word "sentences." Dead. Cold. Blue. Bear. Dragonfly. Combine that with the random free verse poetry in italics from an unidentified speaker and it made for some painful reading. Experimental and lyrical, and for readers who have visited the lake then memorable. For the rest of us, it's a struggle to identify.
I gave it four stars because I kept comin back for more, and made it through this book in pretty good time considering I'm a new mama nursing a newborn! I was a little disappointed with the ending simply because I felt that Grey Rabbit and Berit were a bit missing from it. I see what she (the author) felt was closure for those characters, but i wanted more! However, isnt that the mark of a great novel? Indeed it was fresh and beautifully written. Well done.
This is a well-written story about three women living hundreds of years apart – Grey Rabbit, 1622; Berit, 1902; and Nora, 2000. They are united by Lake Superior. Writing among the centuries could be tough but Sosin accomplishes it without being contrived. All three women deal with loss and transition and the author successfully engaged me in their stories. Since I think I’ll post my comment on Good Reads, I don’t think I’ll write much more.
Wonderful descriptive writing of life on Lake Superior in three different time periods. Each story line separate yet connected by place and human experience in a search for meaning. Then there is another voice that speaks in free verse that is woven around, intertwined, with the others. I want to soak, bathe in this story, and share a beautiful experience of Lake Superior life. Perfect read for In Cahoots weekend at the lighthouse.
Tess Mertens-Johnson
Gichigami – Lake Superior.
This book takes three women in three different eras and how Lake Superior was a part of their lives.
In 1622, Grey Rabbit fears the waters will take her children. She is plagued with dreams of losing her children to the Great Gichigami. Her Native American family tries to deal with her fears and sense she is losing her mind.
Berit and Gunnar is a young Norwegian couple in 1902. They are dealing with infertility when Gunnar’s fishing skiff turns over and hypothermia takes
This book was beautiful. Just stunning. It follows the stories of three distinct women, living along the shores of Lake Superior. They go through different disasters; they feel loved; they feel lonely and isolated. And the thing that binds them together is transitory - the lake is nurturing and heartless all at once.

I love Lake Superior and I loved this book.
Three different narratives, three different times, all set on Lake Superior. Danielle Sosin was inspired to write this as she considered that Lake Superior holds its history. Due to the temperature of the Lake, much of what sunk is preserved in its depths. The writing is poetic, and I often felt as though I were missing some hidden meaning.
One of those "place as character" novels. Anyone who has been intrigued by the mysteries of Lake Superior and likes stories from multiple eras and characters will enjoy this deceivingly gentle but deep novel (hmmm...kind of like Superior itself...).
Started this offically yesterday. Finished it today. Couldn't put it down. Three great stories woven expertly together with Lake Superior as the focus of 3 women's lives. Great historical fiction - one of my favorite recent reads!
Toni Poll-sorensen
Interesting format. A mix of prose and poetry. Short vignettes about three women living on Lake Superior in three separate time periods. An interesting approach and well worth the read.
Shalyn Stack
It was a pretty good book overall.
I liked the flip flop back and forth from three very different parts of history.
I wish the book would have been more "grabbing" though
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 28 29 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Long Shing Waters 1 10 Jun 10, 2011 11:49AM  
The Long Shing Waters 1 6 Jun 10, 2011 11:49AM  
  • Vestments
  • Fall to Grace
  • The Lighthouse Road
  • Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask
  • Bright Before Us
  • Summit Avenue
  • Solace
  • Wayward Saints
  • The Intimates: A Novel
  • Stalking the Divine
  • Ordinary Wolves
  • The Forgetting Tree
  • The Wolf at Twilight: An Indian Elder's Journey through a Land of Ghosts and Shadows
  • Being Esther
  • The History of History
  • Until They Bring the Streetcars Back
  • The Bee-Loud Glade
  • Storyteller
Danielle Sosin is the author of the novel The Long-Shining Waters (Milkweed Editions, 2011) and Garden Primitives a collection of stories (Coffee House Press, 2000). Her fiction has been featured in the Alaska Quarterly Review, and has been recorded for National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story, and Iowa Public Radio’s Live From Prairie Lights. Born in 1959, she liv ...more
More about Danielle Sosin...
Garden Primitives

Share This Book