Manuscript available to Agents by Request
Most giants live in legends, but this one lives next door. Kids see him as a freak. Women see him as a threat – “ his body is too big, his mind too small, his ways too rough.” Only Lake Michigan fishermen, men used to danger and hugeness, aren’t afraid of him and call him by name, Johnny Lindstrom.
When Johnny’s folks die, he is unsupervised for the first time in his life, and he tries to build an ordinary life, but he is no ordinary man, and his neighbors – along with the sheriff, pastor, judge, and head of the Christian Women’s Society – must reckon with his fate. One neighbor boy, Carl Jonsson, hides his polio-withered hand in his pocket and wears his fear and loathing of the giant on his face. But a fiddle, a fight, a fire, and a daring search and rescue, bring the boy and the giant together – in life and death.
Carl Jonsson narrates the story as a sixty year old man, looking back on four seasons thick with fate for the giant and all who knew him. The story takes place in 1955, in Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula surrounded by big water on three sides. The Giant is about love and fear, the power of irregularity, the nature of community, the pleasures of making music, and life in a perilous, rugged place.
Prologue to The Giant
Ma kept her distance from him and warned us, “Stay away from him. His body is too big, his mind too small.” She could have saved her breath. We kids saw him as a freak and never let him get within a stone’s throw. If one of us spotted him coming our way, we’d shout “Giant!” and scatter like spooked deer. My little sister went cold at just the thought of him, so she kept him out of her thoughts. But at night she wasn’t so lucky. He showed up in her dreams, and when he did, she ran into my room, jumped into my bed, and pressed her perfect, soft palms against my boney chest. The only people who weren’t afraid of the giant were Lake Michigan fisherman like Pa, men used to danger and hugeness. These men called him by name, Johnny Lindstrom. It was in their company that I saw him up close for the first time, when I was twelve years old. That was fifty years ago, but I will never forget that day or the year which followed, four seasons thick with fate for the giant and all who knew him, especially me.