What Is Montana's Best-Loved Novel?

Oct 11, 2018

As part of the nationwide search for America's best-loved novel on the Great American Read (an effort sponsored by PBS), a panel of seven literary experts set out to determine Montana's own best-loved novel. 

Great Montana Read

The volunteer judges independently identified their top 25 works of fiction, with the following guidelines: the author or book’s content needed to have firm connections to Montana.

Though the scope was limited to full-length works of fiction, exceptions to this, such as Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky (memoir) and Jim Harrison’s Legends of the Fall (novella), qualified because they were independently selected by the majority of the judges. 

In all, 31 books were named as potentials for Montana’s best-loved novel. Though the narrowing process was tough, the judges’ selections were compiled into the top 20 list of books.

The final list features books published within an 80 year time span, including stunning debuts and heartfelt finales from established and emerging authors. Classics, like James Welch’s “Fools Crow” are featured alongside contemporary contributions such as Emily Danforth’s, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.”

The Great Montana Read is an exciting collaboration, encouraging conversation and celebration around the Treasure State’s rich literary tradition. The final list appears below.

Stay tuned for futher information about how you can join the conversation and cast your vote!

What Should Be Montana's Best-Loved Novel?

The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie

Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West

Canada by Richard Ford

English Creek by Ivan Doig

Fools Crow by James Welch

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

Last Bus to Wisdom by Ivan Doig

The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley

Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison

Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

Perma Red by Debra Magpie Earling

The Ploughman by Kim Zupan

A River Runs Through It by Norman MacLean

The Surrounded by D’Arcy McNickle

This House of Sky by Ivan Doig

Winter in the Blood by James Welch

Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water by Michael Dorris