Price of Passage: A Tale of Immigration and Liberation, Larry Sommers (DX Varos 2023) opens in 1853 in Norway, where only firstborn sons inherited their father’s land and estate. Other children had to fend for themselves. Anders realizes that the only way he can live a life of honor to flee Norway and get to America. He escapes his uncle’s home, hides in a boat builder’s barn, and is nearly killed by Maria, a childhood friend. But they talk, and he tells her about his plans to be a farmer in southern Illinois. Anders’ nearly ruins his chance of reaching Illinois when he tries to stop someone from apprehending a runaway slave. It’s a crime punishable by jail time and a hefty fine, but luckily, a kind gentleman intervenes, and ends up hiring Anders to help on his farm. When Daniel, the runaway slave, turns up a few years later, Daniel and Maria help hide him. This is a novel about immigrants, home, slavery, freedom and living a life of honor.
Larry F. Sommers is a Wisconsin writer of historical fiction, seeking fresh meanings in our common past. He won Honorable Mention in The Saturday Evening Post’s 2018 Great American Story Contest for “The Lion’s Den,” a tale of childhood in the 1950s, and has published other, similar stories in the online version of The Saturday Evening Post. He served as editor of The Congregationalist, a national church-related quarterly magazine, from 2009 to 2016 and previously worked 23 years in the Public Affairs Office of the Wisconsin National Guard/Wisconsin Emergency Management as a writer, editor, photographer, writing coach, and public affairs consultant in a fast-paced environment punctuated by crisis communication events. A Vietnam-era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he is active in church work and is a member of the Sons of Norway and two local writers’ critique groups. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife and dog.