"I stood ankle deep in Lake Michigan for the first time when I was two years old," Fred Carlisle writes. His fascination with the lake began then and has continued throughout his life.
The Lake Effect is grounded in the author's personal experiences but moves to wider considerations that include the aesthetic, emotional, historic, economic, and social effects of Lake Michigan.
The book captures the lake's mesmerizing beauty in summer and winter. It also examines the way Lake Michigan sustains the economies and societies of every place along its shores. It speaks of the ways human intervention and carelessness have polluted, damaged, and degraded the lake. The book also describes the lake's power-in both water and ice forms-to drown swimmers, wreck ships, destroy beaches, and consume houses.
The Lake Effect explores as well the functions and power of water broadly. Water can be magical and make us healthier, happier, and more peaceful. It can also be an adversary that damages and destroys. Water is equally a comfort and a threat: a mosaic of multiplicity and contradiction.