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An inspiring tale about a very special friendship and the redemptive powers of a shared passion for the art of working with metal and wood.
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Archie's Way is an inspiring tale about a very special friendship and the redemptive powers of a shared passion. After a traumatic event in midlife leads Richard Probert and his family to northern Wisconsin, he meets Archie Raasch, and together they begin a remarkable voyage of self-discovery centered on the art of working with metal and wood. In Archie, he finds an eccentric and brilliant man who not only can take a piece of cherry or steel and turn it into something beautiful and useful, but a person who has developed over the years a deep understanding of craft, creativity, and the essentials of life. With wit, candor, and eloquence, Probert paints an illuminating and touching portrait of the bonds that develop, of the thrills and frustrations of craftsmanship, and of the special life lessons and insights that both men gain from this unique relationship. The result is an affecting and poignant tale that makes Archie's Way a book to be treasured. (5 1/4 X 7 1/2, 204 pages)
The author, a musician, conductor, singing teacher and college administrator, grew into manhood with two family passions: musicianship and craftsmanship. He describes his years in northern Wisconsin (ca. 1972-1979) when these two worlds mingle. While his teaching and performing career progresses, he spends most of his free time visiting the shop of his friend, a master craftsman, machinist and father figure named Archie Raasch. Through their friendship they move toward healing mutual pain from past experiences by keeping busy with their hands. There is potential in this book, but it's undermined by stilted, unnatural dialogue and particularly by Probert's unfortunate self-absorption, which leaves little characterization for Raasch but cliches of the wise craftsman. Had the author been able to step aside when he painted his portrait the effect might have been better. The book might be of interest to fanatical craftsmen or friends of the characters, but has little to offer the general reader.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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