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Cathie Pelletier delivers reading at UMPI Feb. 2

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will present a special evening with award-winning author Cathie Pelletier on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m., in UMPI’s Campus Center, when it hosts a reading and book signing focused on her latest book, Northeaster: A Story of Courage and Survival in the Blizzard of 1952.

Northeaster, published by Pegasus Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, is a vivid and gripping story of an epic Maine snowstorm that tested the very limits of human endurance. Pelletier’s “breathtaking account of the 1952 snowstorm that blanketed New England, offers a valuable reminder about nature’s capacity for destruction as well as insight into the human instinct for preservation,” according to the Simon & Schuster website.

Image of Northeaster book coverIn her book, Pelletier “weaves together a rich cast of characters whose lives were uprooted and endangered by the storm. Housewives and lobstermen, loggers and soldiers were all trapped as snow piled in drifts twenty feet high. The storm smothered hundreds of travelers in their cars, covered entire towns, and broke ships in half. In the midst of the blizzard’s chaos, there were remarkable acts of heroism and courageous generosities. Doctors braved the storm to help deliver babies. Ordinary people kept their wits while buried in their cars, and others made their way out of forests to find kind-hearted strangers willing to take them in… Northeaster shows that we have it inside to fight for survival in some of the harshest conditions that nature has to offer.”

The book is excerpted in the January-February issue of Yankee magazine and has received praise from the literary community.

Northeaster is an amazing piece of work, giving us a riveting story. The storm is the framework, but the picture it holds is of the characters themselves, how they lived their lives, how they faced adversity. Incredibly, not only can this scenario happen again. One day it will,” states Bernd Heinrich, author of Ravens in Winter and The Snoring Bird.

Booklist states: “In this excellent example of narrative nonfiction, Pelletier follows several families, many of whom experienced tragedy or hardship during the storm. Pelletier also delves into the physical destruction that the storm left in its wake and the science of blizzards. This book will appeal to readers of narrative nonfiction and climate nonfiction in particular.”

Pelletier was born and raised on the banks of the St. John River in Allagash, Maine. She has written 14 books, two of which have received notable mentions from the New York Times Book Review. She is the author of The Funeral Makers (a New York Times Notable Book), The Weight of Winter (winner of the New England Book Award) and Running the Bulls (winner of the Paterson Prize for Fiction). She and theoretical physicist and National Medal of Science recipient S. James Gates, Jr. co-authored Proving Einstein Right. As K. C. McKinnon, she has written two novels, both of which became television films. After years of living in Nashville, Tennessee; Toronto, Canada; and Eastman, Quebec, she returned to Allagash and the family homestead where she was born.

UMPI encourages all to attend this special event and welcome Pelletier for this County edition of her book tour.

Copies of Northeaster will be available for sale courtesy of Neighborhood Books during the Feb. 2 event at UMPI, which is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and wine will be available (with proper ID) through a cash bar. For more information about Pelletier’s new book, visit Simon & Schuster’s website. For more information about the reading at UMPI, contact Denise Trombley at denise.trombley@maine.edu or 768-9520.