The Tide King (novel, Black Lawrence Press, 2013)
Jen Michalski’s debut novel, The Tide King, was winner of the 2012 Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press. In 2013, it was voted “Best Book” by The City Paper and also earned Michalski the title “Best Writer” in Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore” issue. In 2016, The Tide King was a First Place Winner in the Somerset Awards.
"It's likely that this book will finally make Michalski known to the wider world-in a big way. Seriously, if I weren't entirely averse to all attempts to predict the future, I would say this book will be huge. But there's no accounting for people's tastes, so I will say instead, with some certainty, that it will be important." - Baynard Woods, The Baltimore City Paper
"Though admirably multidimensional, Michalski never fails to tell compelling stories capable of challenging and surprising readers. That readership figures to grow substantially if she continues producing work of this caliber." - Baltimore Magazine
"Jen Michalski's long-awaited novel, winner of the Big Moose Prize, promises to be an important book in the American lexicon." - The Baltimore Sun
"The Tide King is a complex book that examines both the evils that people can do to one another, as well as the beauty that is possible." - Fjords Review
ABOUT THE TIDE KING:
Stanley Polensky and Calvin Johnson serve in Germany during World War II. Calvin, near death after being shelled, is given a bewitched herb by Stanley but then left for dead. Each soldier returns from the war and years pass. Calvin, discovering that he cannot age and cannot die, searches for Stanley to get answers.
Michalski's The Tide King is the story of burnette saxifrage, an herb rumored in Polish folklore to provide those who eat it with immortality, and its effects on three generations of a Polish family over two continents beginning in 19th-century Poland and ending in 1976 America.
But it is also the story of young men’s sacrifice during great wars, of a young child's experiences during the holocaust and being a war orphan, of the curiosities of the American century, such as 1950s country music and smoke jumpers in the Montana mountains and 1970s New York. Just as Viking king Cnut, who was rumored to be so powerful that he controlled the tides at his feet, discovered “how empty and worthless is the power of kings,” Calvin Johnson and others cursed by the herb find in The Tide King that the power of youth and immortality is an empty gift, for they will continually witness the death of their families, lovers, dreams, and ideals.
"The Art of Promotion," Interview in 2014 Writers Market