Synopses & Reviews
"Winter Range re-creates the heartbreak and quiet joy of life on the snowbound prairie of eastern Montana with an authenticity that is pure gold. Claire Davis's novel is one of the very, very best ever written about Montana." (Mary Clearman Blew, author of Sister Coyote: Montana Stories
"The beauty of Davis's language reawakens us to the magical possibilities contained in the simplest of words." (Kim Barnes, author of Hungry for the World: A Memoir)
"This original novel introduces Gothic to the high plains of the modern west. Claire Davis is a fine writer and Winter Range will keep you glued to the edge of your seat." (James Welch, author of The Heartsong of Charging Elk)
"In vibrant language, Davis offers a darker vision of modern cattle ranching, where lost opportunities, isolation, greed, and self-pity can too easily degenerate into self-justifying irresponsibility and violence. An interesting examination of the complexities of our relationship to those upon whom we depend most for our survival." (Laura Hendrie, author of Remember Me)
"Winter Range is absolutely engrossing, a vivid thriller and a look into the degree of absorbed selfishness which results in merciless conduct. I stayed up all night with this one." (William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky)
"Winter Range moves with an elemental force....Her writing has tensile strength, a quirky grace, a wise humor. Claire Davis is an important new voice in the literature of the American West." (David Long, author of The Daughters of Simon Lamoreaux)
"The New West is the setting for an old-fashioned power struggle in Davis's entrancing debut. Sheriff Ike Parsons, 42 and married to fiery redhead Pattiann, patiently patrols a small Montana town whose cattle outnumber its residents. Pattiann, who always loved the ranching life, was reluctant to settle into her role as a townie's wife, and is bitter over her father's decision to pass on the family ranch to her younger brother. It seems a modern Western woman is powerless, except in the sexual realm, which Pattiann discovered as a rebellious, promiscuous teen. Chas Stubblefield was one of the many boys she drunkenly coupled with in her youth, and 16 years later, when Chas comes to her for sympathy, she fools herself into thinking that she and the down-and-out rancher might still strike sparks. A lonely bachelor, Chas lacks business savvy, and can't afford enough feed for his livestock during a particularly harsh winter. Compassionate (but ignorant of Chas's past with Pattiann), Ike offers to help Chas, fully expecting the stubborn, explosive man to swallow his pride. Chas's situation is indeed horrifying: his cattle are already dead or starving, and bankrupt Chas lives off the meat. Ike conceives a plan to mercy-kill the surviving animals, provoking Chas, now helpless to stop the law from taking everything he owns, to settle the score, even if it means hurting the woman he loves. Crisp details establish place and characters with authoritative clarity. As the characterization deepens, so do the suspense and the reader's empathy for decent people trapped by human flaws and fate. The narrative, moving surefootedly toward its denouement, raises serious questions about the law, love and ethics in a tough rural community. With prose as crystalline and clean as snow on the Montana prairie, Davis establishes herself as a writer to watch. Author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Nothing-not the people, not the land, not the winter-is merely life-size in this brilliant, and beautifully written, debut ...Davis' skill brings wintry Montana alive-predictably bleak, unexpectadly vibrant..." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The beauty of Davis's language reawakens us to the magical possibilities contained in the simplest of words." Kim Barnes, author of Hungry for the World: A Memoir
"This original novel introduces Gothic to the high plains of the modern West. Claire Davis is a fine writer, and Winter Range will keep you glued to the edge of your seat." James Welch, author of The Heartsong of Charging Elk
"[Davis'] lyricism never calls attention to itself but remains steadfastly in the service of her story, her people, and her setting. This is an outstanding debut..." (Booklist)
"Winter Range is absolutely engrossing, a vivid thriller and a look into the degree of absorbed selfishness that results in merciless conduct. I stayed up all night with this one." William Kitteridge, author of Hole in the Sky: A Memoir
"Winter Range moves with an elemental force....Her writing has a tensile strength, a quirky grace, a wise humor. Claire Davis is an important new voice in the literature of the American West." David Long, author ofThe Daughters of Simon Lamoreaux
"The narrative, moving surefootedly toward its denouement, raises serious questions about the law, love and ethics in a tough rural community...prose as crystalline and clean as snow on the Montana prairie..." (Publishers Weekly)
"Davis is a writer of great lyrical power, but she knows her place. Her lyricism never calls attention to itself but remains steadfastly in the service of her story, her people, and her setting." (Booklist)
“Fresh and provocative...Daviss literary ethos rivals Larry Watson, Kent Haruf and Ivan Doig.” —Ron Franscell, San Francisco Chronicle
“Brilliant, beautifully written...Daviss skill brings wintry Montana alive.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Wonderful...her story races toward a gripping, ice-bound tragedy.” —Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor
“Impressive...Davis writes so well.” —Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
“A fine first novel....with lyrical precision, Davis describes a way of life in which actions are more eloquent than words.” —The New Yorker
“Davis...vividly teaches her readers something new... fresh and unexpected every time.” —Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“Penetrating, and heart-wrenching detail... Davis has pictured the region and its peoples with such credible vividness that her images speak for themselves.” —San Diego Tribune
“[A] wonderfully strange story...an unflinching portrait of a way of life indebted to nature.” —Louise Jarvis, The New York Times Book Review
“This is a novel of social class and dreadful climate, Americans in desperate circumstances trying—and sometimes failing—to live peaceful lives.” —Carolyn See, Washington Post
Ike Parsons is the sheriff of a small Montana ranching town, and when he hears that hard times have fallen on Chas Stubblefield, he heads out to the rancher's spread. What he finds is horrific cattle freezing solid or starving in the fields. When Ike and several men mercy-kill the remaining cattle, Stubblefield, enraged, begins to plot his revenge.
Ike Parsons is the sheriff of a small Montana town, with a reputation for fairness, common sense, and kindness. When he hears that Chas Stubblefield has fallen on hard times in the bitter winter, he heads out to the rancher's spread to offer assistance. What Ike finds shocks him to his core: cattle starving in the snow or freezing where they stand, and a brooding Stubblefield near bankruptcy, living off the meat of his dying herd, too proud to accept help.
Stubblefield is the heir of an old Montana family; Ike, a Wisonsin native, came west to marry the daughter of another rancher. As sheriff, Ike is something of an outsider, caught between one rancher's rights and the larger law of the community. His attempt to help backfires, and Ike is troubled to learn that Chas is gathering support in town among people who believe that a man's land and property are his to use as he chooses. But Ike does not know that the rancher is planning revenge, a plot that will target Ike's wife Pattiann-a woman with a past her husband does not fully understand, a past in which Chas Stubblefield figured intimately.
An absolutely gripping novel, Winter Range portrays a town in crisis: a debut that is fast paced as a thriller, evocative of broad, spare places and changeable weather, and wise in the relations of men, women, and families.
Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for Best First Novel and the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Best Novel
In Winter Range, the intimate details of ranching and small-town life are woven into the suspenseful story of three people struggling to survive, to belong, and to love in the chillingly bleak landscape of eastern Montana. Ike Parsons is a small-town sheriff whose life is stable and content; his wife Pattiann is a ranchers daughter with a secret past. But when Ike tries to help a hard-luck cattleman named Chas Stubblefield, he triggers Chass resentment and finds his home and his wife targeted by a plot for revenge.
About the Author
is Claire Davis
first novel. She has been published in the Southern Review
, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah
, and elsewhere. She has received a Pushcart Prize for her short fiction. She lives in Idaho.