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The Winter in Anna

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  474 ratings  ·  149 reviews
The story of an unlikely and transformative connection forged between a young journalist and a woman whose past holds a terrible secret.

A young man, Eric, drops out of college and lucks into a job with a smalltown newspaper where he meets Anna, a few years older than him. Her story will both haunt and inspire him for the rest of his life. The Winter in Anna unfolds around
Hardcover, 254 pages
Published January 17th 2017 by W. W. Norton Company
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Barbara H Ricky is a nickname for Eric. People who have nicknames often use that or their given name. It seemed that most people did call him "Eric", but one ch…moreRicky is a nickname for Eric. People who have nicknames often use that or their given name. It seemed that most people did call him "Eric", but one character preferred to use "Ricky". Not really confusing.(less)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  474 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A quiet novel set in a small town, that involves the suicide of Anna, and the memories of her by a young man named Eric who had become friends with her.

The book goes back and forth to Eric now, as a father and husband, and of Eric then, as a young 20 yr old, who got a job as editor of small weekly newspaper that Anna worked at also.
Anna is a mother of two with secrets that slowly surface.
This is the story of how her life affected Eric's.
Beautiful writing!
Larry H
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing

This book was utterly exquisite and moving, yet told with such gorgeous simplicity.

"We would like to think we will recognize the people who come to matter to us at first sight, but of course that's absurd. They often slip into the corners of our lives, unnoticed, then taken for granted, until one day, if we are lucky, we see them anew with startled comprehension, and think, There is my best friend, or There is the woman I love, or There is someone who saved me."

In a split second, Eric Valery d
Diane S ☔
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The book opens with a shocking entry in a newspaper. Our narrator is Eric, now an older man, married with a daughter and the article will take him back many years. A time when as a young twenty year old he drops out of college, leaves Minnesota for the small town of Shannon in North Dakota. He finds a job at a weekly newspaper as a sports writer and here he meets Anna. She is ten years or so older than him but he is captivated by the many different aspects of her personality. The deep sadness he ...more
Angela M
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There is a sadness so thick , right from the first page when I learned the fate of this woman named Anna. Even though I know what happened to her in the first paragraph, getting through the story to know why and what took her to that place was one of the reasons I couldn't put this book down. But it was much more. I knew immediately this would be my kind book . It was the writing, the simple phrases filled with meaning and immediate images , the quiet tone, something about the narrative, the nar
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just lost my entire review removing a 2nd read!!

This story opens up with a shockingly cruel and harsh suicide of a woman named Anna, who succumbed to her own darkness - her own winter.

This is a reflective narrative as recalled by Eric, whom worked alongside Anna for a few years in the isolation of a mid-western town at a local newspaper. A friendship that grew in the small town of loneliness. This is his attempt of reconciling her death with the memories of the woman whom he knew. A woman who q
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
The narrator in this book is Eric (sometimes called Ricky). He ended up in the town Anna was living in and after a brief stint as sportswriter at the local newspaper where Anna also worked, he was promoted to Editor. This sounds all mighty and fine, but it is a wee town and the dark comedy of putting together a weekly newspaper is a counterpoint to the fact that no matter how small the place, people’s lives are just as big and important and filled with human emotion and drama as anywhere else.

Always Pouting
Eric drops out of college, soon before graduating, and finds a job at a newspaper in a small town. There he meets Anna, a single mother raising two children, who also works at the newspaper. Eric soon gets promoted to editor and begins to spend more time with Anna as they work to make the newspaper perfect. Anna is there at a point in Eric's life where he's still figuring things out, and seems to be amused by his youth and beliefs. The book is a recollection of his friendship with Anna, as Eric ...more
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Winter in Anna is a beautifully written sad story. At age 20, Erik becomes the editor of a small town weekly newspaper. The book is narrated by Erik and focuses on his year in Shannon, North Dakota. Anna is a few years older, one of the writers, and has a terribly sad back story that Erik uncovers as they work together. Those are the bare bones of the story but they don't really do justice to what makes this short powerful novel work so well. Erik recounts the story of his time in Shannon ma ...more
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Eric is a 20-year old man starting to experience life far away from his family in a North Dakota town at a small newspaper, with a full-time staff of three. One of them is Anna.

"The Winter In Anna" is the story of a young woman's suicide told by her friend, Eric, with such thoughtful and tender hindsight, upon learning of her death many years later, after marrying and having a daughter of his own.

"Oh, Anna, I thought, you almost made it to another spring. And in the simple act of clearly forming
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars I enjoyed this quiet and beautifully detailed story, however, there was something lacking for me.

I really liked the main character, Eric, who narrates this story of his relationship with Anna. Anna, the mother of two children, holds a deep sadness and secretive past that Eric wants to unravel. The writing was deeply touching at times – I truly enjoyed this author’s way with words.

As much as I enjoyed the writing, I felt like the actual storyline itself left me wanting more. While rea
Cathrine ☯️
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
He is twenty and she is a young but older mother of two children. Paraphrasing from the author’s prose
To him she existed fully every day.
She defied the idea that one’s future is written in the past and did not live a surrendered life.
He was not able to see the things that mattered to her until it was too late.

Living on the frayed edge of a small town in North Dakota, a snowstorm can shut her down; she is well acquainted with grief and deep sorrows.
In the first paragraph we learn that Anna’s l
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: North Dakota

Forget the winter in Anna, folks, and let's talk instead about the winter in me, after reading this novel.

And, no, by “winter” I don't mean a sadness from this “sad story.” I mean a depression I've been developing lately from too many of our contemporary American novels, like this one.

In order for me to experience sadness while reading, I must tell you that I share Robert Frost's philosophy: No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.

I kno
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Helplessness is the essence of unconditional love; you know you would do anything, surrender anything, betray anything.

This was beautifully written. Its gift is the slow, gentle unspooling of a story that will break your heart. The author did the nearly impossible by deftly revealing a broken woman, both with what he showed us and with what he withheld. This story and its characters felt so real, it was almost a challenge to believe this story to be fictional. With a nostalgic look at an old tim
”The birds, they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in”

-- Anthem, songwriter - Leonard Cohen

”I don’t know, I’d said, but I was picturing the door half open, the parchment light of the winter moon framed like a formal invitation, maybe even snow falling in a familiar, seductive whisper, and I
Apr 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We would like to think we will recognize the people who come to matter to us at first sight, but of course that’s absurd. They often slip into the corners of our lives, unnoticed, then taken for granted, until one day, if we are lucky, we see them anew with startled comprehension, and think, There is my best friend, or There is the woman I love, or There is someone who saved me.

This is one of the most beautiful and contemplative books I have read in recent memory and it absolutely gutted me. I b
Elyse  Walters
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5....."I turn these questions over and over to find a different answer every time".

Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5+++ stars. I loved this author. It's exactly the kind of book that I enjoy reading. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. ...more
Diane Barnes
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a friendship between a 20 year old man who has no idea what to do with his life and a 30 year old single mother of two. They both work at a weekly newspaper in a small town in North Dakota. The blurb explains that "it takes place in the last days before the Internet", and the nostalgia that made me experience was almost visceral. No computers or cell phones, just real people connecting with each other face to face.

True friendships can exist between men and women without a se
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
4.5 I didn't know this was going to be so emotional! What a heartbreaking story. I will be thinking about this book and these characters for a long time. ...more
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To begin, I must say that this is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read so far this year, one that has left an imprint I’m sure to feel for some time. I think this is due to the confluence of a couple things. The first is the visually evocative style with which Reed Karaim writes, of which I think I’d never grow weary. The second is that it struck a powerful personal chord in me.

I once loved someone who ended his own life in a terribly painful way. He was a beautiful and artistic person, an
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2017
“We would like to think we will recognize the people who come to matter to us at first sight, but of course that’s absurd. They often slip into the corners of our lives, unnoticed, then taken for granted, until one day, if we are lucky, we see them anew with startled comprehension, and think, There is my best friend, or There is the woman I love, or There is someone who saved me.”

This book took my breath away. I loved everything about it including the small town setting and a more secretive time
Two young adults Eric and Anna meet while working together at a small town newspaper, become fast friends, and maybe never before have two people known so much yet so little about each other. Eric didn't stay long but spent his life thinking about the meaning of Anna, the "winter in Anna" where she finds snowstorms unbearable (one of her many mysteries), and the meaning of their relationship; the reasons for the different things Anna did and how to explain her to those still puzzled after her tr ...more
Connie G
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a haunting story about Anna, a young woman with two children and a tragic past. The narrator, seasoned journalist Eric Valery, looks back to when he was a twenty-year-old who dropped out of college and found a job with a small town weekly newspaper in central North Dakota. He and Anna bonded as they worked on the layout of the newspaper in the pre-digital age. She slowly reveals her secrets about her childhood in the stark Dakota Badlands, marrying too young to the wrong man, the strange ...more
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
The beginning is a picture of the end, and the first two pages remained with me until I read the closing ones. Their words were that powerful. But when I reached the end, I realized that the beginning picture I saw in my mind was like looking at a snapshot, because a snapshot is really just two-dimensional. You see only the single moment, the rest is often left to be filled by our imagination. The whole picture - the story of Anna, her friendship with Eric, and of her end - was found in small pi ...more
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars
We know from the opening paragraph that things don't end well for Anna. What follows is a quiet contemplative trip down memory lane for Eric, who worked at a small town newspaper with Anna many years ago.

Anna's story is slowly revealed through Eric's musings. There's a tragedy in her past, a devastating one that forever changes her, and helps to explain what drove her to do what she did. Her burden was great and she chose Eric as the one person in the world she shared her story with.

Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is the best written book I have ever read in my life. I loved it so much because, line for line, from the beautiful first page to the last, the crystalline prose is written in spare, pure, beautiful words that perfectly creates such powerful imagery. Each description paints a masterpiece so exquisite that I felt as if I was witnessing the love and friendship of Eric and Anna-- as if I was there vicariously feeling all of the emotions that impacted th
I read this book on a total lark, had never heard of it before but was intrigued after having seen it with glowing reviews on some GR friends shelves.

Set in small town Shannon, North Dakota, the book opens with our narrator (Eric) telling how Anna's life ends. From there we go back as Eric narrates the story when he first meets Anna after he lands a job at the weekly newspaper, the Shannon Sentinel. The daily life of working at the little press is a diverse and charming one in itself.

What real
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Seriously, fellas. My feed. This little book blanketed my feed last month. I couldn't escape it. Given that the audiobook was available from Hoopla, how your reviews were leaning heavily towards "must read," and how it looked to be a nice change of pace from my past few selections, I decided to keep the blanket going, like the "pay-it-forward" lines you get at drive-throughs and toll booths.

This was something; author Reed Karaim packs an extraordinary gut-punch despite the small-town setting of
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult book for me to review.

It's ominous in tone. Heavy as an avalanche of progressively increasing tsunamis.

From the most scalding beginning of despair it attempts to trace a better or "braver" before. And the voice of the young man is gut honest.

Writing of the utmost skill. It's about finding a purpose, oneself, forgiving the unforgivable and plodding on.

But far too sad to enjoy, IMHO.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is many someone's 5 star book, but not mine. Again, I take a minority position. I found it dull, slow, and quite the downer. Man, what a slog. A beautifully written slog. 2 stars. ...more
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Reed Karaim is the author of The Winter in Anna and If Men Were Angels, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife and daughter.

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