When Meggie heads to Lost Lake in Northern Minnesota to tend to her dying dad, Giovanni Paulo, and then settle his estate, she discovers a document that unnerves her.
It’s a scrap of paper with the words, “Do not find me,” handwritten and unsigned. Who sent it? Meggie wonders. Was it meant for her father? What did it signify, and why did he keep it, hidden in the back of a dresser drawer? And when was it sent? The mystery unfolds in five chapters, two telling Giovanni’s story, three telling Meggie’s. The alternating accounts provide readers with insights into Meggie’s childhood and offer information about numerous incidents that took place during Giovanni’s early years and dramatically altered the course of his life. We learn, for example, that when Giovanni was in his mid-20s, he moved to New York City—a several-year experiment that took him from his roots on the Minnesota Iron Range—and had a short-lived and tumultuous affair with the beautiful, enigmatic, and brash Corrine Bernard. This was long before Giovanni returned home and long before he met Meggie’s mom, married her, and became a dad. Meggie, of course, knew that her father had once lived in Manhattan but had never heard about either the romance or his broken heart. Instead, theirs had been a child-parent relationship, with Meggie never getting to know Giovanni as a person. For more than a decade, Meggie had fixated on her own comfortable, but loveless, marriage and the rearing of her sons. Now, in the throes of grief, she’s questioning her choices, thinking about options, and asking questions. The result is a taut and beguiling meditation on love, loss, secrets, and silences.
Tender and intricately written, this well-crafted novel is poetic, evocative, and beautiful.