Fiction and Prose
Though no substitute for practical guidebooks, fictional tales, personal essays, and travel memoirs about Michigan can definitely give travelers a tantalizing sense of the cultural and natural diversity of this unique place.
Catton, Bruce. Waiting for the Morning Train: An American Boyhood. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987. Reflecting on his boyhood in Benzonia, southwest of Traverse City, Pulitzer Prize–winning Catton offers a beguiling look at boyhood memories that segues into more serious discussions about the impact of technology on our society.
Emerick, Lon L. The Superior Peninsula: Seasons in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Skandia, MI: North Country Publishing, 1996. A collection of essays and “love letters” about the big lake, categorized by seasons.
Hamper, Ben. Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line. Revised ed. New York: Warner Books, Inc., 1992. A compelling collection of first-hand experiences from a former General Motors factory worker.
Hemingway, Ernest. The Complete Short Stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1987. Hemingway’s works have been packaged and repackaged, of course, but this volume includes his finest Michigan-based short stories: “Up in Michigan,” set in Horton’s Bay, and numerous Nick Adams tales, including “Big Two-Hearted River,” about fishing in the Upper Peninsula.
Leonard, Elmore. Out of Sight. New York: Bantam Dell Publishing Group, 1996. Famous for his crime novels, several of which have been turned into films, Leonard tells the story of a career thief and his unlikely relationship with a U.S. marshal, which takes them both to the gritty streets and posh suburbs of Detroit.
Shiel, Walt. Devil in the North Woods. Lake Linden, MI: Slipdown Mountain Publications, 2004. Based on contemporary reports and recorded oral histories about the 1908 wildfire that ravaged northeastern Michigan, obliterated the town of Metz, and killed several people, this novel traces the real-life story of an adolescent boy who survived the ordeal.
Steinberg, Michael, ed. Peninsula: Essays and Memoirs from Michigan. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2001. An eclectic regional anthology of nearly 40 contemporary, evocative essays and memoirs, written by current and former Michiganders and focused on the state’s great outdoors and metropolitan areas.
Stocking, Kathleen. Lake Country: A Series of Journeys. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994. A series of essays from a talented local writer, who expands her observations beyond her native Leelanau Peninsula to other areas of Michigan.
Stocking, Kathleen. Letters from the Leelanau: Essays of People and Place. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1990. Poignant personal essays about the inhabitants and features of Stocking’s native Leelanau Peninsula.
Traver, Robert. Anatomy of a Murder. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1983. Originally published in 1958, this popular novel-turned-movie was penned by former State Supreme Court Justice and U.P. resident John Voelker (a.k.a. Robert Traver), about a lover’s-triangle murder that took place in nearby Big Bay.
Traver, Robert. Trout Magic. Reprinted ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1989. Filled with tall tales and amusing opinions, this collection of essays, originally published in 1974, offers a joyous look at trout fishing by the prolific Michigan author and judge.
Voelker, John D. Trout Madness. West Bloomfield, MI: Northmont Publishing Co., 1992. Originally published under the author’s pseudonym, Robert Traver, in the 1960s, this collection of fishing tales serves as “a dissertation on the symptoms and pathology of this incurable disease by one of its victims.”
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel