"The real clue to this mystery lies in its title, referring to the half-tent an American infantryman once carried with him to the battlefield, and buttoned to someone else's half for mutual protection: a covert metaphor provisioned with foregiveness and trust."--O, The Oprah Magazine
“Does loving-kindness to friends, family, town, and church cover your complicity in . . . distant wrongs? Carol Bly . . . is fully responsive to the evils done in our name and with our tacit consent.”—Tobias Wolff , in the introduction to My Lord Bag of Rice: New and Selected Stories
“What the reader will remember is Carol Bly’s spiritual and moral intelligence as glimpsed through the valor of these vibrant characters.”—Tess Gallagher, The New York Times Book Review
A young woman’s body lay undisturbed for a week in mid-November.
So begins Shelter Half, a novel about a few people in a northern Minnesota town. Some of them—the town cop, the doctor, and a young couple in love—are smart enough to recognize cruelty that comes at them from huge organizations far outside the town limits. They are not chicken. They don’t duck. If their nation and their world look grisly, they still do what they can for love and justice. They look out for one another. In the end, a retired US Brigadier General brings them a surprise about one of their best-loved townspeople.
Carol Bly (1930-2007) is the author of Letters from the Country, The Tomcat’s Wife, My Lord Bag of Rice: New and Selected Stories, and Changing the Bully Who Rules the World. Her stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories; several Pushcart Collections, including the twenty-five-year anniversary edition; The New Yorker; Ploughshares; Glimmer Train (May 2008); and other journals. She lived in St. Paul and Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota. Shelter Half is Carol Bly's first and only published novel.