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Wild Lifeby Molly Gloss
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 07:30 PM
Powell's City of Books on Burnside, Portland, OR
From Molly Gloss, the bestselling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, comes Falling from Horses (Houghton Mifflin), an absorbing, elegantly rendered new novel about a young cowboy who escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider in the movies.
At the turn of the century, in the primeval forest of the Pacific Northwest, a fiery feminist becomes lost. Struggling to survive, night after terrifying night, she is finally rescued by... Bigfoot!? Huh? No, really — this incredible story works. Gloss — laying all the groundwork with such a willful, proud, and imaginative protagonist — makes sure that by the time we have to suspend our disbelief, we are ready for all the hearty metaphors this larger-than-life tale evokes. This book is a great gift for all the wild, woodsy women on your list. For outstanding PNW historical fiction without Yeti, I recommend Gloss's Jump Off Creek.
Synopses & Reviews
Charlotte Bridger Drummond supports her five sons by writing popular fiction. She'd rather be writing Literature, but art doesn't pay the bills. Through her articulate diaries and humorous reports about single motherhood on the shores of the Columbia River circa 1905, we're immediately drawn into her world. Then a girl goes lost in the woods near a Washington logging camp, Charlotte leaves her homestead to join the search party, and the real adventure begins. In telling the story of this forward-thinking author of western romance novels, Molly Gloss serves a page-turning literary adventure, a novel sure to captivate genre readers and academics, alike. Recommended by Dave Weich
In her highly original new novel, award-winning author Molly Gloss delivers a rare blend of "heady cerebral satisfactions, gorgeous prose, and page-turning adventure" (Karen Joy Fowler). Set among lava sinkholes and logging camps at the fringe of the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, Wild Life charts the life both real and imagined of the free-thinking, cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who supports her five boys by writing popular women?s adventure stories. One day, when a little girl gets lost in the woods, Charlotte anxiously joins the search and embarks on an adventure all her own. With great assurance and skill, Molly Gloss quickly transforms what at first seems "pitch-perfect historical fiction...[into] a kind of wild and woolly mystery story" (Amazon.com), as Charlotte herself becomes lost in the dark and tangled woods and falls into the company of an elusive band of mountain giants. Putting a surprising and revitalizing feminist spin on the classic legend of Tarzan and other wild-man sagas, Gloss takes us from the wilds of the western frontier to the wilds of the human heart. "Never has there been a more authentic, persuasive, or moving evocation of this elusive legend: [Wild Life is] a masterpiece" (Kirkus Reviews).
"As Molly Gloss's unconventional heroine affirms herself as a feminist, natural historian, mythologist, parent, and adventure-seeker, she reminds us that opportunity exists inside the self as well as outside it." Abby Frucht, The New York Times Book Review
"Cigar-smoking, feminist writer of dime-store adventure novels for women meets Bigfoot in 1905....Never has there been a more authentic, persuasive, or moving evocation of this elusive legend: a masterpiece." Kirkus Reviews
"Gloss twines just enough intellectual fiber around the sleek cord of a great adventure story to offer up a truly satisfying read....While Gloss generates heat and humor from the friction between early 20th-century and early 21st-century attitudes, her prose is most satisfying when she describes Charlotte's housekeeper ironing or Charlotte's patient suitor batting a homemade baseball. Deep into the book, Charlotte describes the 'lowbrow scientific romances' she fancies: '[M]y preference is for the writer whose language is gorgeous, whose characters are real as life, and whose stories take my poor little assumptions and give them back to me transformed.' Gloss couldn't have written a better description of her own novel: the writing is gorgeous, the characters real and vivid, and the story transforming." Publishers Weekly
"Written in journal format with occasional sidebars and epigraphs, this novel both entertains and engages the reader. Without moralizing, Gloss explores the deeper meaning of what it really is to be human." Library Journal
Award-winning author Gloss delivers a blend of cerebral satisfactions and page-turning adventure. Set among logging camps in the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, she charts the life--both real and imagined--of the cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who supports her boys by writing popular women's adventure stories.
About the Author
Molly Gloss is the author of four novels and numerous short stories, yet she didn?t start writing seriously until she was thirty-five. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Gloss confesses that she has always liked to write but that she "grew up in a period when smart girls were encouraged to be teachers or nurses. Nobody ever told me I could be a writer." After the birth of her son and a rocky adjustment period that yielded what she called a "desperate journal," Gloss enrolled in a writing class taught by Ursula K. Le Guin at Portland State University — an experience she called "life-altering." Her first book, Outside the Gates, was a young adult fantasy that grew out of a short story written for her son. Her second novel, The Jump-Off Creek, was the winner of the Oregon Book Award, and the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for Fiction and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She then published The Dazzle of Day, a foray into science fiction, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and received the PEN Center U.S.A. West Award for Fiction. Gloss is also the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award. Wild Life, her fourth novel, was recently awarded the James Tiptree Award for literary fantasy. Gloss teaches writing and literature of the American West at Portland State University and lives in Portland, Oregon.
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