Cheri Johnson has won awards in fiction from the McKnight Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Yaddo, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She studied writing at the University of Minnesota, Hollins University, and Augsburg University. Her chapbook of poems, Fun & Games, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2009, and she’s written two series of nonfiction books for Full Tilt Press. Crocus Hill: A Ghost Story, a literary performance project she created with the composer Julie Johnson, the filmmaker D.J. Mendel, and the new-music ensemble Zeitgeist, was supported by the Knight Foundation. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ancient and contemporary myths—including both Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby—overlay a coming-of-age story set in remote northern Minnesota.
Seventeen-year-old Annika Rose and her father Wes have spent the years since the death of Annika’s mother in self-imposed social isolation on their farm on the edge of the woods. When a young woman named Tina moves into a house down the road, the result is a sudden explosion of feelings in both father and daughter and a fierce rivalry. At stake in the competition is not only their relationship, but the life of the vulnerable young woman at the center of it all.
“Cheri Johnson’s novel Annika Rose is a marvel of invention whose always knowing prose, alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, simultaneously glimmers and cuts. A magician with character, Johnson’s most artful alchemy comes in her protagonist Annika, who, if there is a meritocracy, will become as memorable a first name in literature as Holden or Huckleberry as teenagers choked and befuddled by angst, adventure, and an ever-encroaching and frightening very real world. Annika—an eighteen-year-old post-modern Laura Ingalls inhabiting a little trailer on the prairie—is a breathing contradiction, both an old soul and a doe-innocent naif. Yet her battle—to speak when uncomfortable truths finally outweigh convenient myths—is as ageless as both life and death.”
—Neal Karlen, author of This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey On + Off the Record
“Part coming-of-age story, part ode to the landscape of northern Minnesota, this is also a horror story that reflects the larger horror of adolescence, of a girl’s fight for integrity in the face of demolished innocence. How could we forget Annika after we meet her? Her character is seared upon my brain. She is reminiscent of other stubborn, opinionated characters who struggle in the limbo between childhood and adulthood: Huckleberry Finn, Laura Ingalls, and Scout Finch.”