In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.
WINNER, The Phillip H. McMath Post Publication Book Award
SILVER Winner, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards for Short Stories
Featured in The Millions Most-Anticipated The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview
Selected for 35 Over 35’s 2017 List
A Pulpwood Queen Book Club Bonus Book for June 2018
August 2018 Read of the Month, Southern Literary Review
Starred review & selected for Hungry for Good Books Annual Book List as well as it’s year-end best lists for both fiction and best debuts
Staff Pick at Gramercy Books, Union Avenue Books, Beaverdale Books, & Appletree Books
One of the year-end best fiction titles on Read Her Like An Open Book!
One of the year-end best fiction titles on Savvy Verse & Wit!
“What is remembered; what is missed; what will never be again . . . all these are addressed with the tenderness of a wise observer whose heart is large enough, kind enough, to embrace them all without judgment. . . . intense and finely crafted . . . . her stories reach into the hidden places of the heart and break them open to healing light, offering a touch of grace and hope of reconciliation.”—Foreword Reviews, starred review
“This debut collection works together to form a Cubist portrait of grief….Summie’s ghosts linger.”—The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The stories center on the complexity of family relationships with such empathy and humanity that novelist Steve Yarbrough called the book “nothing short of magnificent.”… Summie grounds readers in reality just as they become lost in her beautiful prose…. To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts does not shy from life’s hardest moments, but its sorrow is not gratuitous. Summie is a writer who approaches life as a whole, both good and bad, rooted in history and place, and her elegant prose shines in this collection.”—Chapter 16.org (also appeared in The Knoxville News-Sentinel)
“…nothing short of magnificent.”—Steve Yarbrough
“…Summie is our modern Chekhov.”—Savvy Verse & Wit
“Her compelling writing reminds us of the power of a well-delivered narrative….Summie’s stories emphasize [our] shared humanity, and there is something accessible, recognizable and timely for everyone.”—The Vail Daily
“It’s been a long time since I read a collection of stories that amazed me from cover to cover, but that’s what Caitlin Summie’s To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts did. With the grace and elegance of a master, Summie lays bare our vulnerabilities and desires and hopes in equal measure. The result is one stunning story after another, each as lovely and heartfelt as the one before. If you’re a fan of Grace Paley or Ann Beattie or Tobias Wolfe, you’ll surely find something to love in these pages.”—Peter Geye, author of Wintering
“…will resonate with readers who themselves may have experienced these life-changing family moments that seem small but are really huge.”—The St. Paul Pioneer Press
“The universal issues and dilemmas at the heart of Summie’s stories and her focus on families give To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts wide appeal. You’ll want to talk about these characters as if you knew them, and you’ll want to revisit these stories more than once.”—BethFish Reads
“…eloquent, grace-filled stories that offers readers a mirror into their own souls. If you enjoy the spare, affecting writing of Kent Haruf, read this. Buy two copies, one for yourself and one to give someone you love.”—Hungry for Good Books
“Each story is enthralling in its own way, and it’s a challenge to put the book down.…a beautifully crafted work of art…”—Centered on Books
“…her prose is phenomenal — alternately soothing and stirring, and always smart.”—Books by Smithies
“…Summie writes elegantly of Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, with their disappearing farmland, aging population, and winters that are both brutal and engendering of intimacy. Like a landscape painter, she creates memorable images: a wheelchair-bound man stuck in a muddy rut, a young mother pulling a line of children through a whiteout.”—Kirkus Reviews
“…a stellar short story collection….These are quiet, intimate stories driven by character more than plot, yet they are compelling in both their dramatic tension and often unsettling (but not unsettled) resolution….Summie’s empathy for her characters’ humanity is so strong, and her prose so lovely, that a palpable warmth emanates from the stories despite their physically frigid settings. I look forward to the publication of her first novel; the trilogy in this collection suggests that she will be equally accomplished with the longer form.”—Read Her Like An Open Book
“There are lots of story collections with a very strong connection to place. There are also lots of collections with great range in their locales….“To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts” is a wonderful achievement because it meets both of those goals. I found myself attached to each story and its places—carefully enhanced by characters whose lives and thoughts and situations are quite easy to feel connected to.”—Hans Weyandt, Milkweed Editions Bookstore
“I wish this collection lasted longer, because the stories in this collection are some of the most beautifully written I’ve ever read…. This is a collection that will reel you in. On the surface, it doesn’t seem as if anything enormous is happening, but it’s the quiet moments that murdered me. It’s the characters confronting their pain, struggles, hopes that had me enraptured. For a while, I lived in the emotional state of these characters….Each story moved me for different reasons, in many short story collections not every story resonates with me, but in To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts, they all did. I truly hope that Caitlin Hamilton Summie is already working on something new, because she has made a fan of me!”—Bookstalker Blog
“Caitlin Hamilton Summie is an author in full flower. These ten stories embody craft, care, an obvious love of language, and a deeply generous understanding of people and places. To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts is a completely pleasurable read.”—Joni Rodgers, New York Times bestselling author of Sugarland
“Beautifully crafted, Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s short story collection is a lyrical elegy about loss and love, family and home. Her writing reminds me of the grace and sensitivity found in stories by Ann Beattie and Elizabeth Strout. I can’t wait to introduce To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts to Gramercy Books customers!”—Linda Kass, Owner, Gramercy Books & author of Tasa’s Song
“This debut collection is impressive because of the author’s skill in depicting feelings and emotions that are universal, her strong sense of place, and her use of lyrical language.”—Blue Moon Publishers blog
Here’s an interview on The Culture Buzz!