Sister City, by Ian Woollen

Sister City, Ian Woolen, Exchange, Mexico
Paperback: $15.95
ISBN: 9781603813525
eBook: $5.99

Sister City, by Ian Woollen

Meet the concerned citizens of Cave City, Indiana, and their Mexican counterparts in Ciudad de la Gruta, a lovely town in the Yucatán – characters such as Delmar and Glodene Butz, Dolores Sánchez, Sheriff Hooker and El Plástico. They are concerned about the future of the Sister City accord between their two communities. The original agreement requires that it be re-approved via public referendum every twenty years. And now, in 2019, what should be a friendly, rubber-stamp matter has become a political hot-potato. Sheriff Hooker, running for mayor on an anti-immigrant platform, calls it, “The worst deal ever made.”

Meet young Chad O’Shaughnessy and his fiancée Winnie Marsh, fresh arrivals to Cave City from faraway Boston. Winnie, just out of grad school, prepares for her first teaching job at Southwest Hoosier State University. They show up in the middle of August to cicada noise and marching band practice. Both hope this will be a pleasant year in a quaint Midwestern college town. Think again, Chad and Winnie. They are soon embroiled in the referendum debacle, especially after Sheriff Hooker arrests the undocumented fans at the annual Sister City soccer game.

The countdown to Election Day brings many challenges, from romantic entanglements to voter suppression tactics to a car bombing to a prehistoric intervention. Meet Night Snow, an archeology student and a descendant of the ancient Mound Builders. According to her and El Drone, a garrulous expat, the Sister City relationship actually began over a thousand years ago. The Mound Builders around Cave City were in frequent contact with the Mayan temple builders around Ciudad de la Gruta. And maybe, just maybe, their ancestral spirits can be summoned to heal the current divide.

Ian Woollen was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. Shipped off to boarding school at age fourteen, he eventually graduated from Yale University and Christian Theological Seminary. A checkered job history includes house painter, furniture stripper, script reader, psychotherapist. His first novel, Stakeout on Millennium Drive, won the 2006 Best Book of Indiana Fiction Award. His short fiction has surfaced in a variety of journals, including The Massachusetts Review, Juked, decomP, The Smokelong Quarterly, and The Mid-American Review, from which he received a Sherwood Anderson Prize.

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