Montana Public Radio

nonfiction

Curious, alert, and keenly observant, these essays probe the boundaries between what is here and what is gone, what is present and what is past, in elegant prose.

Milkweed

A hearth is many things: a place for solitude, a source of identity, something we make and share with others, a history of ourselves and our homes. It is the fixed center we return to, and it is just as intrinsically portable. It is, in short, the perfect metaphor for what we seek in these complex and contradictory times—set in flux by climate change, economic emergencies, migration, the refugee crisis, and the dislocating effects of technology.

Jill O'Brien

"In this case, you have to realize nature is a tough, tough mother. When you really work in biology you have to leave your human sympathies behind and that’s the most difficult part. The loss of a young peregrine falcon in the big picture is nothing, nothing. But it breaks your heart. And so you just have to steel yourself or those kind of moments, and that book is full of those kind of moments." -- Dan O'Brien

'A Million Acres'

Nov 12, 2019

Montana's stunning landscape shapes all who live here and all who visit.

In twenty powerful pieces of writing—essays, memoirs, short stories—the state's finest contemporary writers explore the plains, rivers, and mountains of Big Sky Country. They show us how natural beauty and hardship are two sides of the same coin, and how sometimes the only way to cure heartache is to visit the great outdoors.

Richard Fifield

These diverse stories of resistance, resilience, and love make it perfectly clear that there is no one single narrative of Montana women. Proceeds benefit Humanities Montana and the Zootown Arts Community Center. 

  

With startling wisdom and humor, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone  takes readers into both Lori Gottlieb’s therapy office where she sees patients and into her own therapist’s office where she lands after a crisis. But really, the book is about the universal human condition. Lori writes about topics that make people think differently about themselves and the world around them: love and loss, meaning and mortality, gender and culture, parents and children, female appearance, regret and redemption, hope and change.

Chris La Tray

"This is a sunrise book, a book of revelations, of creekwalks and roadfood and ordinary sadnesses, ordinary joys—which are, in the end, the only kind. ‘I have a stake in this,’ La Tray writes. And so do you. So do you.” — Joe Wilkins 

"Sometimes the job we have to do is often uncomfortable, whether it’s killing a deer to put it out of its pain, or to open it up. It’s kind of that pen too, to open up stories, to open up wounds that need to be reopened to be able to heal properly. I think the knife serves that metaphorical purpose as well." -- CMarie Fuhrman

Somewhere between hunting for gold in Latin America as a geologist and getting married to a new husband, thirty-three-year-old Susan Purvis loses her way.

Susan comes to believe that a puppy and working on ski patrol at the last great ski town in Colorado will improve her life. When she learns about avalanches that bury people without warning, she challenges herself: “What if I teach a dog to save lives?” This quest propels her to train the best possible search dog, vowing to never leave anyone behind.

Scott Parker

"A Way Home" is a love letter to Oregon and an ode to living in the present moment. Living for several years in Minnesota, Scott Parker finds himself longing for the Oregon of his youth. He explores this longing by returning to his home state both over the course several visits and through the unfolding of memory, to find out what he is capable of understanding about time, home, and himself.

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