Life has always been difficult and dangerous for those living on and around the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a secret. Everyone thinks they’re only connected to their neighbors by the isolated, peculiar town they share.
Orphaned Sioux Ida Florence Little Shay is determined to escape the life before her, but her course of action only draws her into a world of increasing conflict and deepening poverty.
Young Fawn Breen appears as if she is from a different century. With her primitive, animalistic father as her only companion, she is forced to look after herself when she is thrust into society.
Harold Peavey is an idealistic young man who finds his views of the world in severe conflict with those around him, facing ostracism by his community when he refuses to abandon his beliefs.
Enduring mistakes, tragedies, secrets, and long-held grudges spanning the 1930s-1960s that have permanently marked them, these three Great Plains farm families clash together as they struggle to survive and find their way in an ever-changing world.
A Note From the Publisher
"The linked stories in Gary Eller's novel True North are sad, mysterious, tender, sometimes hilarious and occasionally savage. But they all have a couple of things in common: real-as-life characters you'll want to spend time with, and an elegant readability that will make that time go much too fast. True North is a wonderfully crafted depiction of life in and around Rolland, ND, during the middle of the last century." —Jim Nichols, author of Blue Summer, winner of the 2021 Maine Fiction Award
“Gary Eller brings a lifetime's care and an artist's eye to his magnum opus—a shivery swirl of adventure provoking double-takes of recognition: They are us. Rich, funny, moving, and wise.” —Joan Frank, author of The Outlook for Earthlings
“True North will quickly jerk you by the roots from the tranquil prairie grasses into a world of mystery, murder and intrigue. Eller’s depth of detail and description takes you smoothly through the sights, sounds and fragrances of an uncovered world.” —Dennis R. Waller, author of Walkin' Joe and the Midnight Marauders
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* Featured by publisher at Publishers Weekly US Book Show
Key Selling Points
* Readers who enjoy historical fiction and short story collections will enjoy reading this composite novel of linked short stories.
* Readers and lovers of the literature of the Great Plains and other rural regions as well as fans of Wendell Berry, Ron Rash, and Alistair MacLeod will find a new favorite author in Gary Eller.
Average rating from 4 members
Harsh, gritty, bleak. This story of survival weaves together the lives of four families living in the Turtle Mountain area of North Dakota. Set across three decades, the reader witnesses the tangled and messy long-standing grudges and generational hardships of these families.
Thank you to the publisher BHC Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in advance. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's a story of a group of characters in a small notch of North Dakota nestled up against the Canadian border. Hard countryside, hard weather, hard lives for the most part. The structure, as I was reading it felt a bit disjointed, especially in the first quarter of the book but as I fell into the rhythm of it I actually thought it added to the experience. There's one particular transition from one set of characters to another that could be taken as particularly jarring since it goes from deep hardship of the practical and psychological kinds to almost outright comedy. But it works. That particular comedic chapter put me strongly in mind of the late, great Howard Frank Mosher's tales of the the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Some great characters, set pieces, and writing. Even that geographical setting is similar, that ignoring of the man-made border between countries and the influence of the French trappers from the Canadian side on the people on the American side. The depressing reality of the experiences of Native Americans living on reservations and cheek-by-jowl with white people is insinuated and touched on throughout the book and I felt that there were some parallel's with Tiffany McDaniels' novel 'Betty' throughout. Ultimately, stories about characters like this in settings like this rarely end up well or happy and there's a lot of that here but not exclusively so, I'd recommend this strongly.