Bill Schubart: Lila and Theron (A Novel)

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Fiction, WritersCast

Lila and Theron (A Novel) – Bill Schubart – Charles Michael Publishing – Hardcover — 9781682613566 – 192 pages- $19.95 – ebook versions available at lower prices – June 6, 2017

This small book is short and sweet in a very good way. Through well written fiction, the book documents and celebrates an imagined place and people in time, that have only recently disappeared from the American landscape. It’s difficult for most of us moderns to imagine life without all the technological conveniences we have come to take for granted today. It was not that many years ago that the isolated mountain communities of northern Vermont were still home to small farmers, whose daily lives were closer in rhythm to the nineteenth century than to even the twentieth, much less the technologically advanced twenty first century of today. Some of these hardy folk still farmed with horses into the 1960s, and many small-scale daily and truck farming operations managed by dint of endless toil, to support the families on the land they had worked for generations.

To most of us, these lives will be as foreign as science fiction. Harsh circumstances often make people harsh, but Schubart’s characters find a way to access their humanity despite all the struggles of life which which they must cope. It’s a joy to get to know these characters and to share the stories of their lives. Schubart, now in his seventies, bridges this time frame. He grew up in northern Vermont, and while his life experience was vastly different from the farm people he writes about here, these are people he knew and loved during the his youth, and it benefits us all that he has brought them to life in this lovely novel.

Thelma dies at nineteen giving birth to a son, Theron. When the son first meets his father, he learns his mother’s death is his fault and can only muster the question, “How did she die?”

Looking away, the father mutters, “She died givin’ birth ta you. An’ I lost all her help and comforts.”

“I have long considered Bill Schubart to be the wisest columnist in America. That same wisdom, deep life experience, and empathy come shining through on every page of his new novel, Lila and Theron. Full of joy, sadness, humor, and insight, Lila and Theron is a clear-eyed celebration of our almost boundless capacity, despite all our human frailties, to love both one another and the place we call home. Over the years, I have known many true and good country people like Lila and Theron, whom I have been proud and honored to call my friends. This is a beautiful book.” – Howard Frank Mosher, author of Marie Blythe and Walking to Gatlinburg.

Bill Schubart has lived with his family in Vermont since 1947. He writes about Vermont in fiction, humor and opinion pieces, is the author of several books, is a regular commentator on Vermont Public Radio, and active in Vermont community and political life. Learn more about him and his work at his website.

It was a true pleasure for me to share a conversation about Vermont and its people, small-scale farming, and the art of fiction with my old friend, Bill Schubart.

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