Juniper Blue (Paperback)

By Susan Lang

University of Nevada Press, 9780874176339, 328pp.

Publication Date: January 9, 2006



This engrossing new novel by acclaimed author Susan Lang continues the saga of Ruth Farley, the fiercely independent young woman who was the protagonist of Small Rocks Rising. Ruth is still on her homestead at the end of a rugged canyon in California's Mojave Desert, still struggling to survive on her own and to recover from a brutal rape and the murder of her lover. Now she must also face the responsibility of motherhood. The ensuing story expands Ruth's world to encompass the vast panorama of Depression-era Southern California--miners and ranchers striving to hang on until times are better; Indians trying to preserve their ancient culture and identity; Okies, vagrants, and breadlines; the wealth and glitter of the movie industry; and narrow-minded small-town gossips. Ruth's life also expands as she adjusts to motherhood, trying to maintain her autonomy and isolation and trying to preserve the tenuous web that links her to the seductive ruthlessness of the desert and to its ancient people and their wisdom. Ruth is one of the most engaging and unforgettable characters in recent fiction, complex and contradictory, stubborn and vulnerable, passionately in love with her austere, beautiful desert home. Lang tells her story--the saga of a fully modern woman seeking her own identity and destiny--against the turbulent, colorful setting of the rapidly changing twentieth-century West.