It starts with death. Leonard Self struggles with a promise he made to his late wife. Somehow between thoughts of Jesus and the drive, he travels from the Rockies to Monument Road in California.
Author, Charlie Quimby, breaths emotion into his first novel “Monument Road.” The story follows Leonard and other characters through different perspectives of suicide and depression.
Quimby will read and sign copies of his book from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 19, at Scout & Morgan Books in Cambridge.
Quimby, who grew up in a small town in Western Colorado and now lives in Minnesota, reconnected to the state that was important to him growing up.
He connects a physical landscape to a cultural and metaphorical one by setting the story in an actual location with fictional characters. Monument Road, which is also well-known for suicide jumps, holds a different connection for Quimby as well. His father suffered from depression and took his life when he was 57, but not at Monument Road.
“People go there and drive off the roads and jump off cliffs,” Quimby said. “When someone decides their life is over, for whatever reason, somehow you connect beauty to a bigger place.”
Writing Leonard was gratifying for him. He was drawn to the character because Leonard kept evoking emotion in Quimby as he wrote more about him and discovered who he was .
“It’s fun to keep going to those places that are emotionally painful,” Quimby said. “He wasn’t based on my father, but writing this tender area has been a part of your life, so it may not sound like fun, but it is in a satisfying sense.”
He hopes it inspires people to talk about suicide and depression.
“I’ve had many Minnesotans and Wisconsinites say ‘I know Leonard! He is my Uncle,’ ‘He is my brother-in-law,” Quimby said. “Leonard and the other characters are that flexion point between town and people who live on land and will recognize good aspects of the characters.”
Scout & Morgan Books is located at 114 Buchanan St. N., Cambridge, and can be reached at 763-689-2474. More information on “Monument Road” can be found at http://torreyhouse.com/press-room/monument-road-by-charlie-quimby/