The Ski Jumpers
by Peter Geye
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Pub Date 13 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 30 Aug 2022
University of Minnesota Press, Univ Of Minnesota Press
A writer and former ski jumper facing a terminal diagnosis takes one more leap—into a past of soaring flights and broken family bonds
A brilliant ski jumper has to be fearless—Jon Bargaard remembers this well. His memories of daring leaps and risks might be the key to the book he’s always wanted to write: a novel about his family, beginning with Pops, once a champion ski jumper himself, who also took Jon and his younger brother Anton to the heights. But Jon has never been able to get past the next, ruinous episode of their history, and now that he has received a terrible diagnosis, he’s afraid he never will.
In a bravura performance, Peter Geye follows Jon deep into the past he tried so hard to leave behind, telling the story he spent his life escaping. It begins with a flourish, his father and his hard-won sweetheart fleeing Chicago, and a notoriously ruthless gangster, to land in North Minneapolis. That, at least, was the tale Jon heard, one that becomes more and more suspect as he revisits the events that eventually tore the family in two, sending his father to prison, his mother to the state hospital, and placing himself, a teenager, in charge of thirteen-year-old Anton. Traveling back and forth in time, Jon tells his family’s story—perhaps his last chance to share it—to his beloved wife Ingrid, circling ever closer to the truth about those events and his own part in them, and revealing the perhaps unforgivable violence done to the brothers’ bond.
The dream of ski jumping haunts Jon as his tale unfolds, daring time to stop just long enough to stick the landing. As thrilling as those soaring flights, as precarious as the Bargaard family’s complicated love, as tender as Jon’s backward gaze while disease takes him inexorably forward, Peter Geye’s gorgeous prose brings the brothers to the precipice of their relationship, where they have to choose: each other, or the secrets they’ve held so tightly for so long.
"Like its ski jumping protagonists, this family saga takes flight with a hammering heart and soars through questions of debt, failure, courage, and reconciliation. It's both distinctly Minnesotan and hugely humane. . . I was deeply moved." —Kawai Strong Washburn, author of Sharks in the Time of Saviors
"In Peter Geye’s achingly beautiful story of city and north woods, of complex family relationships and surprising sacrifices and strengths, an appreciative maturity emerges, a wisdom grown from age and experience." —Linda LeGarde Grover, author of In the Night of Memory
"With great warmth and insight, Peter Geye has crafted a multi-generational epic of a talented family haunted by secrets and mystery. Geye's tender, patient storytelling, exhilarating tension, and indelibly Midwestern characters make The Ski Jumpers unforgettable." —J. Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota
"Peter Geye brilliantly captures the physicality of our connection to a landscape and to the moments when—despite incalculable loss—we bring the best of ourselves." —Peter Heller, author of The Dog Stars, The River, and The Guide
"Peter Geye writes full-hearted novels made for winter, and The Ski Jumpers is his best to date. If you already know his work, this book will surprise and delight you; if you're new to Peter Geye, The Ski Jumpers is the perfect place to start." —Leif Enger, author of Virgil Wander
-Extensive ARC campaign to national and regional media outlets, including print, online, radio, and television
-National and regional print, radio, television, and online publicity campaign, including reviews and features
-Special focus on ski and winter sports media
-Ten-city author tour throughout Midwest; virtual events and festivals nationally
-Review copy promotion on NetGalley
-Promotion and ARC distribution at Winter Institute (Snow Days), MIBA spring meeting, and Heartland Fall Forum
-Feature title at American Library Association annual meeting exhibit
-Special promotion to regional book associations
-Edelweiss title feature and digital review copy promotion
-Indie Next nomination campaign
-Extensive coop promotion through Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Barnes & Noble
-Specialized outreach to book clubs, ski clubs, and libraries
-Extensive holiday and seasonal catalog mailings
-Targeted ads on Goodreads, Facebook, and Instagram
-UMP podcast feature episode
-Social media buzz campaigns (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and cover reveal
-Minneapolis Star Tribune
-Minnesota Public Radio
-Rain Taxi Review of Books
-Reading Group Choices
Average rating from 9 members
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