Katrina Kittle returns with a heart wrenching new novel set in Dayton

In last week’s column I mentioned novelist Erin Flanagan is persistent. She shares this trait with her friend, the writer Katrina Kittle. Kittle just published her sixth novel “Morning in this Broken World.” The author is a lecturer at the University of Dayton teaching creative writing and composition. Kittle has never stopped writing, she just had not published a book in a dozen years.

This new one was worth the wait. Kittle had an inspiration during the global pandemic and the story that was to become “Morning in This Broken World” came flowing forth. Set in Dayton, it is told from the points of view of four people.

Our first character, the one who accelerates this inspiring saga onward, is a feisty elderly woman named Vivian. As the story begins Vivian is preparing to stop living. Her husband Jack, the love of her life, has died recently and Vivian is feeling shattered. She doesn’t see any reason to keep going.

Vivian has been squirreling away prescription pills. She must consume a lethal quantity to rejoin her beloved Jack. She’s just swallowed the first one when someone knocks on her door. Her visitor is Luna, a nursing assistant; Vivian is delighted to see her.

Luna has brought along her daughter Wren (our second point of view character, Luna will be our third), and Vivian is thrilled because when Jack was still alive and in the throes of dementia Luna had been so kind to him. Plus he mistook Wren for their estranged daughter; Wren looks a lot like their long gone Ann-Marie.

Young Wren is confined to a wheelchair. Luna asks if Wren can be with Vivian while Luna is working elsewhere in the facility? Vivian agrees although this will quash her plan to do herself in, that first pill she ate is already starting to kick in.

Luna leaves. While Vivian is socializing with Wren she accidentally happens upon devastating knowledge, apparently Luna, who recently separated from her ne’er do well husband, has gotten an eviction notice.

This bad news ignites a spark in Vivian. She decides that maybe she should stick around after all and try to help Luna’s family. Luna is not a person who accepts help easily. That’s not her personality. Even though Luna is overwhelmed, overworked, financially depleted, and exhausted, accepting Vivian’s aid is not something she wants to do.

Circumstances intervene. Luna’s son Cooper, a teenager, is at their apartment as the eviction process is underway. He’s upset. Cooper is our fourth point of view character; he is as feisty as Vivian. Perhaps they are destined to become best friends?

Kittle has never been one to shy away from tough topics. As the story opens the COVID-19 lockdowns are just beginning. As her characters struggle with adversity they ultimately obtain healing with a tender grace.

You can listen to my latest interview with Katrina Kittle at 10:30 a.m. today on WYSO (91.3FM). She also has a book signing scheduled for Sept. 9 at Barnes and Noble in Beavercreek.

Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at vick@vickmickunas.com.

How to Go

What: A book signing with Katrina Kittle for “Morning in This Broken World” and Erin Flanagan for “Come with Me.” Kittle and Flanagan will be interviewed by the novelist Sharon Short/”Jess Montgomery.”

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9

Where: Barnes and Noble, The Shoppes of Beavercreek, 2720 Towne Drive #200, in Beavercreek.

More info: 937-429-1660

About the Author