Book cover for 'Letters from the Leelanau'
Google Preview
Michigan and the Great Lakes

Letters from the Leelanau

Essays of People and Place
Kathleen Stocking
Stocking writes about the people and places she knows so intimately


Far away from everything and on the way to nowhere lies the Leelanau Peninsula. This gentle landscape of rolling hills and bays of Lake Michigan has become home to many a world-weary traveler. Letters from the Leelanau represents a ten-year slice of life on this northern peninsula. Writer Kathleen Stocking, daughter of Leelanau lumberman Pierce Stocking, shares in a genuinely infectious way an easy intimacy with both the people and the land in these essays written in the years 1979 to 1989. Life in a village, she writes, "gives me a primal sense of the human community, a sharing of life with those who acknowledge—albeit silently, simply by their being there too—that we can't live ontologically meaningful lives in isolation.

Praise / Awards

  • "Ruminating about life out her back window, Stocking has forged an outlook that focuses on the small, familiar, yet invaluable connections in our lives."
    —Chuck Moss, Detroit News

  • "Stocking's revelations of childhood memories are warmhearted and personal. They present a yearning to relive her stories and retrace her paths through the village streets and sand dune beaches. . . . To both the experienced visitor and newcomer, these essays offer a bright spectrum of dune sights and small town America, along with the anticipation of landscape beauty and faces to endear."
    Michigan Historical Review

  • ". . . Stocking evokes her surroundings with crisp, memorable images—'the northern lights flare up, their rainbow flames licking the Bible-black sky'--but her strength is in introducing and deciphering the people of her close-knit community. She's taken deliberate care to know them, and her reporting is touching and authentic."
    New York Times Book Review

  • "All of us are watchers—of television of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway—but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing. . . . Rural America is what the twentieth century left behind, and we sense a grave loss. Missing are the village elders and seers, the astute perceivers who interpreted life and effort through nature and the primal life cycles from which the bulk of the population is now insulated. Kathleen stocking is one of these seers, and she's delightful."
    New York Times Book Review

  • "[Stocking] captures the essence of this Oregonian desire in us to move to the pristine and then set up barricades to prevent anyone else from coming."
    —James Lawless, Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

  • "Stocking's first collection of personal essays, Letters from the Leelanau, proved her an exceptional observer of our last primitive human impulses."
    Publishers Weekly

  • "The book's smooth, unpretentious prose provides the reader with a fascinating exploration of the Leelanau, the land and its people, its flora and fauna. . . . [Letters from the Leelanau] is much more than a well-crafted literary accomplishment. It is an affirmation and a joyous celebration of life."
    —David Averill, Traverse City Record-Eagle

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 182pp.
  • 30 illustrations.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1990
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06445-8

Add to Cart
  • $19.95 U.S.