The Buoyant Letters of Mimsy Bell by Laurel Dodge


2024 Bronze Winner of the IPPY Award for Literary Fiction

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Menotomy, a small, unassuming town in the western mountains of Maine, has nothing much to distinguish it except the great, wild, murderous river that flows through it, and the fact that it was the birthplace of rock ’n’ roll star, Mimsy Bell. These two – river and rock star – have a history: the river took the life of Mimsy’s first love. Now, at the age of eighty, after a life of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, Mimsy has returned to Menotomy to find herself a suitable gravesite and to have it out at last with the river that has haunted her all her life. Armed with a collection of small antique bottles and a sharp pen, Mimsy records her daily life in letters to her dead lover, bottles them and tosses them into the river, an eccentricity that soon attracts a number of new admirers, and initiates a series of life-changing adventures.


A delightful, insightful book. In her letters to a long-lost love, feisty Mimsy Bell reflects on her life and ours, on the tragedy and beauty that surrounds us. I found myself wishing Mimsy had started writing sooner so my time with her would last longer. The Buoyant Letters of Mimsy Bell is a special creation, a story I will eagerly revisit. Gerry Boyle, author of the Jack McMorrow mysteries.



Like a Maine river, The Buoyant Letters of Mimsy Bell has depth and beauty, offering up surprises where you least expect them. You’ll be transported to Menotomy and won’t want to leave. Robin Merrow MacCready, author of Buried

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