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Pawns resurrects a decade of family dysfunction on an isolated farm in northern Minnesota. In Wendell Affield's book Herman, 1940's Lonely Hearts Search, the author explored his stepfather's life on a farm in Nebish and search for a wife. This second book in the Chickenhouse Chronicles conjures up memories as Affield pores over musty letters, documents, and seventy-year-old photographic negatives beneath a magnifyling glass. 

Those pictures transport him back in time - in some cases before his own birth. Some photographs evoke fading memories of his mother, a beautiful young New Yorker and accomplished Juilliard-trained pianist; others evoke images of puppies tied to a corncrib, a harrowing escape to a secluded mountain lake in the Cascade Mountains, and his brother Randy - Now forty years dead. 

Dark images on transparent plastic film transport Affield back: jumping from a second floor window to escape his mother's wrath; pleading with his stepfather not to kill his puppy, shinnying up trees with Randy, almost drowning in Lake Chelan. 

Memory bits expand into images of fear and anger: a water trough Wendell angrily destroyed with an ax; long distant road trips with his siblings and mother in attempts to escape her abusive husband; hand-written notes on the backs of faded photos. His mother's fear of forgetting her children scattered across the country in foster homes, after she was committed to a mental institution. 

Pawns: The Farm, Nebish, Minnesota, 1950s (Chickenhouse Chronicles Book 2)

SKU: 9061478481561
  • Wendell Affield

    • Approximately 560 pages, paperback.
    • Includes, from  the author, prologue, afterword, acknowledgements, black & white photographs, book club discussion, a conversation with Wendell Affield.
    • 5.5 inches X 8.5 Inches
    • ISBN: 978-1945902031
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