Saturday, January 10, 2015

Five top books from the real Montana

Carrie La Seur is an energy and environmental lawyer in Billings, Montana, and the author of The Home Place: A Novel.

One of her five top books from the real Montana, as shared at The Daily Beast:
Judy Blunt, Breaking Clean

Many Montana stories are about getting out. Blunt left the eastern Montana ranch country where she grew up and writes about that history in a memoir so powerful and honest that the reader is almost uncomfortable imagining the reactions of Blunt’s real-life characters. When 30-year-old John seeks 18-year-old Judy’s hand as helpmeet on the 36,000 acre family spread, Judy longs mutely for her mother’s encouragement into another sort of life. Her mother merely kneads the daily bread and says, “He’s a good man.” John only says “I love you” once in their married life but “never took it back, did I?” When her writing distracts Judy from producing lunch promptly for the haying crew, her father-in-law smashes the dearly bought typewriter with a sledgehammer. The women in her family die young from childbearing and harsh living. The men remarry, move on. A creeping sense develops that Judy fled not just a stifling culture but a genuine existential threat. A person like her could not be allowed to survive in this place. Her willingness to tell the story unvarnished, stripped of sunsets and raptures about the land, is a revelation in itself, a 20th century non sequitur that defies all expectation.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue