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His novel Whiteout
American expatriate Paul Bauer, a freelance journalist living in Paris with his French lover, thinks he has it made. And then his mother dies. When he returns for the funeral to a little town in northern Minnesota, he encounters unsettling contradictions to his understanding of his family history and begins a quest into his past that leads him back among the dead. He hears the voices of his parents talking of dreams, desires, and loss, and inexorably their story leads him to ask the question—the very question his family has always wanted to prevent him from asking: What really did happen in that whiteout thirty-five years ago? The answer changes everything.
AWARDS: In 2010 Whiteout won the Independent Publisher Gold Medal for Midwestern Fiction and the Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award for Midwestern Literature; it finished a finalist (second place) for the National Indie Excellence Award for Regional Fiction and fourth for the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award for Popular Fiction.
What people are saying about whiteout
"'Whiteout' is a stunning debut novel, worthy of national recognition."
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Whiteout is an intense, moving story about how lost a family can get and how it can right itself again. The atmosphere of the north woods permeates the novel and gives it a deep claustrophobic, gothic sense. Duren takes the metaphor of the whiteout—the complete blankness of the world, the possibility of erasing everything—and shows that it is not the answer. Instead, in this lovely, lyrically written novel, he gives us the power of the truth.
- Mary Logue
Winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Fiction
I love E. L. Doctorow’s comment that writing a novel is “like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” When I recall that line, my mind automatically substitutes blizzard for night, because driving in snow is so common in Minnesota, where I grew up and have spent most of my life. Blizzards blind, and as I drive into pure whiteness—the white of the snow, the white of the page—the sense of adventure, the tension, the risks are all so much greater than when driving at night. That ‘s what I experienced writing Whiteout.