Monroe Library Blog

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Antelopes and Cowboys

I love southeastern Oregon, so different from the blue and green Pacific side of the mountains. I just finished reading William Kittredge's The Willow Field, the author's first novel, though he has spent a lifetime writing non-fiction since breaking away from his upbringing on a ranch near Lakeview.

This novel is the story of Rossie and Eliza Benasco's life together in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, and of how Rossie came of age as a buckaroo driving cattle in southeastern Oregon and Nevada. Rossie and Eliza marry in 1934, at age 19, when Eliza was pregnant with another man's child.

I like books with a strong sense of place, and Kittredge certainly knows this country, from Denio and Roaring Springs to Missoula and Hamilton, from the 1920's to the 90's, and all the sweep of the historic west.

Another book you might enjoy is the story of a ranch wife, Judy Blunt, whose autobiography Breaking Clean is the story of how she left that life and became a writer.

Both Kittredge and Blunt are Missoula-based authors.

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