Cancer is the impetus that gets Howard Frank Mosher rolling on the road trip he describes in The Great Northern Express
. He makes sure you know, however, that this is not "an inspirational memoir extolling how, with the help of a brilliant doctor, a breakthrough procedure in radiation therapy, and a supportive family, I licked prostate cancer."
Mosher admits to having had writerly fantasies about the day he would receive a momentous letter in the mail telling him he's won a genius grant for lifetime achievement. When an important letter does show up, it's not the one he wants, but he chooses to read his cancer diagnosis as his own personal MacArthur Fellowship. As soon as he finishes his radiation treatments, he launches on a meandering cross-country book tour conducted in the spirit of carpe diem
. A litany of seedy hotels and wonderful independent...
Beyond the Book
The place with which Howard Frank Mosher is most associated is not actually his native home. Born in the Catskill Mountains in 1942, he moved to Vermont's "Northeast Kingdom" (or as he calls it, "The Kingdom") as a newlywed in 1964 to take up his first teaching post. According to the NEK (Vermont's Northeast Kingdom) website, The Kingdom "comprises the three northeastern-most counties of the state - Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans countries." This territory has strong ties to Canada and a rugged regional character linked to forestry and harsh winters. The woods and rivers, and even "the scent of varnish from the furniture...