In Conversation with Florence Williams
For fans of Kent Haruf and E Annie Proulx, a taut and moving novel of a family's struggle to sustain their land when fracking comes to the contemporary American West.
"An impressive debut novel…in its moving evocation of a place and a people and a way of life at a pivotal point in our history. —The Washington Post
When Jackie Dunbar's father dies, she takes a leave from medical school and goes back to the family cattle ranch in Colorado to set affairs in order. But what she finds derails her: the Dunbar ranch is bankrupt, her sister is having a nervous breakdown, and the oil and gas industry has changed the landscape of this small western town both literally and figuratively, tempting her to sell a gas lease to save the family land.
There is fencing to be repaired and calves to be born, and no one—except Jackie herself—to take control. But then a gas well explodes in the neighboring ranch, and the fallout sets off a chain of events that will strain trust, sever old relationships, and ignite new ones.
Rebecca Clarren's Kickdown is a tautly written debut novel about two sisters and the Iraq war veteran who steps in to help. It is a timeless and timely meditation on the grief wrought by death, war, and environmental destruction. Kickdown, like Kent Haruf's Plainsong or Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone, weaves together the threads of land, family, failure, and perseverance to create a gritty tale about rural America.
Rebecca Clarren, an award-winning journalist, has been writing about the rural West for nearly twenty years. Her journalism, for which she has won the Hillman Prize and an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, has appeared in such publications as Mother Jones, High Country News, the Nation, and Salon.com. Kickdown, shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, is her first novel. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two young sons.
Florence Williams is a journalist, author, podcaster and public speaker, and the author of The Nature Fix and BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History . She is a contributing editor at Outside Magazine and a freelance writer for the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, Slate, Mother Jones and numerous other publications. She is also the writer and host of two Audible Original series, Breasts Unbound and The Three-Day Effect, as well as Outside Magazine’s Double-X Factor podcast. A fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature and a visiting scholar at George Washington University, her work focuses on the environment, health and science.
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