Summers with Juliet

Bill Roorbach



pp. 6x9

$19.95 paper 978-0-8142-5052-5
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“Imagine Henry David Thoreau not only young and in love but as a thirtysomething contemporary, and you’ll have the delights of Summers with Juliet. Presented as a novel, the book is actually a highly polished, thoughtful journal of the eight holidays the author spent traveling around the United States and Canada with his bride-to-be, the winsome and strong-willed Juliet.”—Los Angeles Times

Summers with Juliet . . . is an understated memoir of underfunded adventures from Martha’s Vineyard to Montana. It’s also a beguiling meditation on love, nature and the difficulty of growing up. . . . Ultimately, in the best Transcendentalist tradition, Roorbach finds nature all around him, helping him conquer fears of mortality, gain faith in the future and, on a soggy June day in New Hampshire, marry his Juliet.”—Boston Globe

They met in a bar on Martha’s Vineyard. Bill was instantly smitten—her cool beauty, her insouciance, her sassy youth—but Juliet was unimpressed. Even so, a courtship began, and for the next eight summers, in sublime settings across North America, Bill Roorbach and Juliet Karelsen made circuitous progress toward a lasting love, and  finally, marriage. In charming fashion, Summers with Juliet tells this tale, but it also chronicles a second awakening, as Juliet rekindles in Bill his childhood enchantment with nature. Now marvelous creatures abound: giant ocean sunfish and wild turkeys, bellicose hummingbirds and canny trout, all of them images and explications of the many facets of Juliet. Landscapes hold new mysteries, too, and the author vividly describes his exuberant road trips with Juliet around the country, from the River of Promise in Montana, to the Gulf Coast of Florida. And at last, they come to a wooded lake in New Hampshire and the singular June day when “love’s all there, sweeter than the cake.”

Bill Roorbach is an associate professor of English at The Ohio State University. He is a recent winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award in Short Fiction and the author of Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs, Ideas into Essays, and Life into Literature.