Ghosts of Wyoming
By Alyson Hagy
(Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555975487, 192pp.)
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
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An unsentimental vision of the west, new and old, comes to life in a gritty new collection of stories by the author of Snow, Ashes
In Ghosts of Wyoming, Alyson Hagy explores the hardscrabble lives and terrain of America’s least-populous state. Beyond the tourist destinations of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone lies a less familiar and wilder frontier defined by the tension wrought by abundance and scarcity. A young runaway with a big secret slips across the state border and steals a collie pup from the Meeker County fairgrounds. A chorus of trainmen details a day spent laying rail across the Wyoming Territory, while contemporary voices describe life in the oil and gas fields near Gillette. A traveling preacher is caught up in a deadly skirmish between cattle rustlers and ranchers on his way from Rawlins to the Indian reservation on the Popo Agie River. Locals and activists clash when a tourist makes an archaeological discovery near Hoodoo Mountain. With spirited, lyrical prose, Hagy expertly weaves together Wyoming’s colorful pioneer and speculator history with the notoften- heard voices of petroleum workers, thrill-seeking rock climbers, and those left behind by the latest boom and bust.
Alyson Hagy was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of three previous collections of short fiction and two novels, Keeneland and Snow, Ashes. She lives and teaches in Laramie, Wyoming.
“Sharp, mournful tales and dead-on yarns. Hagy knows Wyoming well, her stern weathers and defiant beauty and patient ruthlessness. She knows too how this land fashions and tests her ghosts, both living and long gone.” —JOY WILLIAMS