Shelfari edited the description of The Turtle Catcher Sunday, August 2, 2009.
A standout fiction debut by a prize-winning young writer whose memoir, The Summer of Ordinary Ways, was a favorite of critics and booksellers Nicole Helget's fierce and lyrical memoir of growing up on a Minnesota dairy farm received widespread acclaim. People magazine hailed the young author's ability to "take the messiest of lives and fashion something beautiful."Here, in her first novel,Helget turns her extraordinary sensibility to a haunting love story with a heinous crime at its core. In a rural Minnesota town of German immigrants in the tumultuous days ofWorldWar I, The Turtle Catcher brings together two misfits from warring clans. Liesel, the one girl in the upstanding family of Richter boys, harbors a secret about her body that thwarts all hope for a normal life.Her closest friend is Lester, the "slow" boy in the raffish Sutter family, a gentle, kind soul who spends his days trapping turtles in the lake. Yearning for human touch in the wake of her parents' deaths, Liesel turns to her only friend—leading her brother, just returned from the war, to an act that will haunt not only both families but the entire town. Helget's novel is a story of loyalty and betrayal that, like her earlier book, proves her uncommon understanding of the natural world and human frailties. Both moving and heartfelt, The Turtle Catcher confirms this young writer's exceptional talent.