By Pamela Steele
(Counterpoint LLC, Paperback, 9781582437705, 160pp.)
Publication Date: November 2011
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Avery is no stranger to the weight of loss, the way it shapes and defines the expanse of a life. The death of her sister, when Avery was just a child herself, engulfed her and her familya mother driven mad, a father who disappeared, and all the while, neighbors and friends ignoring and surviving. The loss shades Avery’s full being, becoming a deep part of her past and her future.
As a young woman, Avery’s life in Eastern Oregon ranch country is filled with an acquired family: her partner Davis; Lovell, a ranch hand and father figure; Lennie, Lovell’s daughter; and Davis’s grandparents. When Avery suffers the loss of her and Davis’s newborn child, it triggers and revives in her a familiar sense of guilt, one she has carried since childhood over the disintegration of her family.
Written with the precision of Cynthia Ozick and the blunt passion of Alice Munro, this riveting story takes place on a landscapethe deserts of Eastern Oregonitself a deeply important character in this remarkable first novel.