Superior Reads


Peter Geye has written five novels, three of them in a multigenerational saga that followed sixty years of the travails and trespasses of the Eide family from the fictional town of Gunflint, Minnesota. His newest novel, The Ski Jumpers, is the tale of Jon Bargaard, a novelist recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, who wants to tell one last story – one about his family – starting with Pops, once a champion ski jumper who taught Jon and his younger brother Anton the sport. Jon has spent a lifetime running from his family story and he wants to set it right before he is no longer able.

Every jumper knows the feeling – the stall – the moment, Geye writes, when you reach the perfect position, suspended in air like a bird on a gyre. But it’s the landing that counts. Jon has one last shot to make reparations to his brother, who won’t take his calls, and to make peace with the ghost of his father and the secrets that cleaved the family in two.

The novel opens with Pops and his pregnant lover fleeing Chicago for Minneapolis, with a notoriously ruthless gangster in pursuit. On a trip to visit their daughter in the North Woods, Jon tries to tell his wife Ingrid the truth about his past – a past that put his father in prison and his mother in an asylum – leaving eighteen-year-old Jon alone to care for his younger brother Anton.

The past is a slippery thing, and memory as elusive as the perfect telemark landing, especially when it is complicated by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and a lifetime of hiding from the truth. Geye writes with a musicality that soars above the complex plot of The Ski Jumpers. The novel moves back and forth in time and place – moving from Duluth, where Jon and his wife currently live, to the North Woods of Minnesota where he visits his daughter and her partner, and to Minneapolis, where Jon and his brother Anton grew up skiing in Theodore Wirth Park and jumping from the Highland Ski Jump in Bloomington. If you’re a fan of arresting family dramas with a bit of a twist, complex and provocative characters, breathtaking landscapes wrapped in luminous prose, The Ski Jumpers is your next read.

This is Lin Salisbury with Superior Reviews. Listen to my author interviews and book reviews on Superior Reads, WTIP Radio, Grand Marais, and on the web at

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