Peter Donahue seems to have a map of old Seattle in his head. No novel extant is nearly as thorough in its presentation of the early city, and all future attempts in its historical vein will be made in light of this book.-David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars and Our Lady of the Forest Peter Donahue's debut novel, Madison House, chronicles turn-of-the-century Seattle's explosive transformation from frontier outpost to major metropolis. Maddie Ingram, owner of Madison House, and her quirky and endearing boarders find their lives inextricably linked when the city decides to re-grade Denny hill, and the fate of Madison House hangs in the balance. Clyde Hunssler, Maddie's albino handyman and furtive love interest; James Colter, a muckraking black journalist who owns and publishes the Seattle Sentry newspaper; and Chiridah Simpson, an aspiring stage actress forced into prostitution and morphine addiction while working in the city's corrupt vaudeville theater, all call Madison House home. Had E.L. Doctorow and Charles Dickens met on the streets of Seattle, they couldn't have created a better book. After selling the last of their few belongings to outfit themselves with the necessary equipment and provisions-a Klondike stove, blankets, parkas, knee-high boots, wool-lined mittens, a red Union suit each, beaver hats, and then (by way of food stuffs), 50 pounds of flour, 20 pounds of dried beans, 10 pounds of lard, sacks loaded with potatoes, cabbages, and acorn squash, and 10 pounds of cured beef (although Chester swore he would provide them with fresh meat-You don't mind caribou, do ya, Mads?-with the second-hand Remington rifle he bought)-they still came short ofthe year's worth of supplies the Canadian Mounted Police required of prospectors crossing the border from Alaska into the Yukon. Peter Donahue is an associate professor of English at Birmingham-Southern College. He is co-editor of the anthology Reading Seattle: The City in Prose and author of the short story collection, The Cornelius Arms. His stories have appeared in over 25 literary magazines, and his literary awards include first place in the OSU Short Fiction Award and two Pushcart nominations.
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