In her own life, Lily feels trapped – on the one hand, she craves family and intimate connection; on the other hand, she has no healthy or satisfying role models. Consequently, as she nears graduation from the University of Virginia, she finds herself uncertain about what to do with her life.
As she researches Mary's life – she has begun writing a play about her – Lily comes to witness Mary's incredible bravery and startling originality, qualities that prove inspirational to Lily, whose own bravery is required as she attempts to navigate dysfunctional and destructive relationships with her young husband, her extended family – and a legacy of abuse dating back to her childhood.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real...
The fiction of Rachel Ingalls has haunted me for years. The plots are dramatic, even exaggerated, but the books are quiet and short. The language is plain but curious. I’ve gathered here three works of hers. Two of these are frightening and one less so, although I sometimes change my mind about which one that is. —from the Introduction by Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler assembled this collection from Rachel Ingalls’ wide selection of novellas as a perfect introduction to her beguiling talent. I See a Long Journey and On Ice, novellas Mr. Handler considers basically perfect, originally appeared with a third, Blessed Art Thou, a story he considers to be in an entirely different tone. He felt that Friends in the Country from Ms. Ingalls’ later collection, The End of Tragedy, was a more natural companion to the two earlier works. The author happily agreed."