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Recent Publication Information for Laura Kasischke

TITLE

Eden Springs

AUTHOR

Laura Kasischke
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In 1903, a preacher named Benjamin Purnell and five followers founded a colony called the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where they prepared for eternal life by creating a heaven on earth. Housed in rambling mansions and surrounded by lush orchards and vineyards, the colony added a thousand followers to its fold within a few years, along with a zoo, extensive gardens, and an amusement park. The sprawling complex, called Eden Springs, was a major tourist attraction of the Midwest. The colonists, who were drawn from far and wide by the magnetic “King Ben,” were told to keep their bodies pure by not cutting their hair, eating meat, or engaging in sexual relations. Yet accounts of life within the colony do not reflect such an austere atmosphere, as the handsome, charming founder is described as loving music, dancing, a good joke, and in particular, the company of his attractive female followers.

In Eden Springs, award-winning Michigan author Laura Kasischke imagines life inside the House of David, in chapters framed by real newspaper clippings, legal documents, and accounts of former colonists. Told from the perspective of the young women who were closest to Benjamin Purnell, the novella follows a growing scandal within the colony’s walls. A gravedigger has seen something suspicious in a recently buried casket, a loyal assistant to Benjamin is plotting a cover-up, talk is swirling about unmarried girls having babies, and a rebellious girl named Lena is ready to tell the truth. In flashbacks and first-person narrative mixed with historical artifacts, Kasischke leads readers through the unraveling mystery in a lyrical patchwork as enticing and satisfying as the story itself.

Eden Springs lets readers inside the enchanting and eerie House of David, with an intimate look at its hedonistic highs and eventual collapse. This novella will appeal to all readers of fiction, as well as those with an interest in Michigan history.

Published by Wayne State University Press

All recent publications by Laura Kasischke

  • If a Stranger Approaches You
  • Ghost Writers: Us Haunting Them, Contemporary Michigan Literature
  • The Raising
  • Space, in Chains
  • Eden Springs
  • In a Perfect World
  • Feathered
  • Be Mine
  • Boy Heaven

All publications by Laura Kasischke

Space, in Chains (poetry collection, Copper Canyon, 2011);  Lilies Without (poetry collection, Ausable Press, 2007); The Raising (novel, Harpers, 2011);  In a Perfect World (novel, Harpers, 2009); Be Mine (novel, Harcourt, 2007); Boy Heaven (novel for young adults, HarperCollins, 2006); Gardening in the Dark (poetry collection, Ausable Press, 2004); The Life Before Her Eyes, (novel, Harcourt, 2002); Dance and Disappear, (poetry collection, University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); What It Wasn't, (poetry collection, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2001); Fire & Flower, (poetry collection, Alice James Books, 1999); White Bird in a Blizzard, (novel, Hyperion, 1998); Suspicious River, (novel, Houghton Mifflin, 1996); Housekeeping in a Dream, (poetry collection, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1995); Wild Brides, (poetry collection, New York University Press, 1991). Poetry published in Harper's, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Georgia Review, Pushcart anthologies. Recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award (2012), a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Bobst Award for Emerging Writers (NYU Press), Beatrice Hawley Award, Juniper Award (Univ. of Massachusetts Press), Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award (Poetry Society of America).

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