Rachel Kelsey Kemper was fourth on her parents’ emergency contact list so an evening phone call from their physician signals a major calamity. The Kempers are regular people. Katherine and Art are seventy somethings living in the suburban family home. Except Katherine, who has had a series of strokes, was never committed to the whole married with children lifestyle. Issues of their flawed marriage are replayed in her current dementia. As the crisis deepens, fractured family relations splinter.
The fifth novel by Cynthia Kraack, The High Cost of Flowers is contemporary fiction about contemporary life. Continuing her tradition of studying what binds and strains within families, the Kempers are compelling characters not unlike those in books by Anita Shreve, Louise Erdrich or Sue Miller. The High Cost of Flowers is an American story as classic as suburbs, working parents struggling to raise decent kids and multi-generational confrontation.
Minnesota Cold, Kraack’s first novel, won the 2009 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Fiction. She is also author of the Ashwood trilogy of speculative fiction. She is a graduate of Marquette University, the University of Minnesota and has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program.