Nahoonkara by Peter Grandbois
Set simultaneously in the farm country of Wisconsin and a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the nineteenth century, the new novel by Peter Grandbois follows the lives of three brothers as each strives to re-create himself despite the forces that work to determine his identity. Though told from the point-of-view of many characters, the novel revolves around Killian, the oldest of the three, as he attempts to recapture a childhood as ephemeral as a dream. While Killian’s brother Henry strives to make the town prosperous and his brother Eli prays to maintain the town’s spiritual center, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that the center will not hold. Violence, lust, and greed tear at the fabric of the town until the only possibility for healing arrives in the form of a snowfall that lasts for three months, burying the town. It is here events take a surreal turn as individual identity collapses.
Nahoonkara, an Ute Indian word that means, “land of the rising blue,” offers a place outside our preconceived notions of reality and identity, a place where we are free to re-imagine ourselves.
“The amazing and masterful thing [in Nahoonkara] is the way that Grandbois ties this very personal, family story to the larger narrative of American expansion; it’s not overt, but we see clearly how individual pain leads to national empire.”—Kel Munger, Colorado Springs Independent Newspaper
Winner of the Gold Medal for Best Literary Fiction of the Year (ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards)
Triptych: The Three-Legged World, In Time, and Orpheus & Echo by Peter Grandbois, James McCorkle and Robert Miltner
A triptych typically depicts a scene, a single picture, in three panels. A trio is one song or one movement played by three musicians. But if this rich new book, Triptych, represents something singular, it is to show a small part of the singular diversity and range of contemporary American poetry. From Peter Grandbois’ intimate, disarming lyricism, to James McCorkle’s chewy, sustained meditations on time and the nature of decay, to Robert Miltner’s classical dramas where the Orphic myth can take us from creekside to the underworld of Vegas, each of this book’s books is as distinct as each poet’s style and manner—splayed or compressed, in lines or in prose, in wonder, in amusement, or in alarm. Over them all hovers the bedeviling circumstance of Time—enabler, nemesis, and charm. It imperils the lovers, fractures the landscapes, and confounds the sense of every self.
—David Baker, Swift: New and Selected Poems
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