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“I don’t go looking for miracles”: James Lee Burke reflects on the events that inspired ‘Every Cloak Rolled in Blood’

James Lee Burke’s latest novel is ‘Every Cloak Rolled in Blood (Simon & Schuster), his most autobiographical to-date.
James Lee Burke’s latest novel is ‘Every Cloak Rolled in Blood (Simon & Schuster), his most autobiographical to-date.

Host Lauren Korn chats with prolific author of the American West James Lee Burke, author of over forty books including his most recent, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood, part of his Holland Family Saga. In it, Aaron Holland Broussard is grieving the loss of his daughter, Fannie Mae. Trying to honor her memory, Aaron tries to save two young boys from a life of crime, and in doing so becomes entangled in a web of villainy and evil that runs deep in his small communities in rural Montana.

Called his most autobiographical novel to date, Every Cloak Rolled in Blood is full of Jim’s distinct reflections on theology, literature, and culture; of his notions of good and evil; and on family—the complicated, wonderful mess of it.

About Jim:

James Lee Burke is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time winner of the Edgar Award, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts in Fiction. He has authored forty novels and two short story collections. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

James Lee Burke recommends:

The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. (Mariner Books)

The Kid(Scribner) and Desperadoes (HarperCollins) by Ron Hansen

Shane, starring Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur and Van Heflin (Paramount Pictures)

Lauren Korn recommends:

Pity the Beastby Robin McLean (And Other Stories Press)

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books)

The Trace by Forrest Gander (New Directions)

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (HarperCollins)

Haints Stay by Colin Winnette (Two Dollar Radio)

The Write Question team is Lauren Korn, host and co-producer; Chris Moyles, co-producer and editor; and Tom Berich, sound engineer.

The Write Question logo and brand (2022) was designed by Molly Russell. You can see more of her work at and on Instagram @iamthemollruss. Our music was written and recorded by John Floridis.

Funding for The Write Question comes from Humanities Montana; members of Montana Public Radio; and from the Greater Montana Foundation—encouraging communication on issues, trends, and values of importance to Montanans.

The Write Question is a production of Montana Public Radio.

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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