We are delighted to welcome author Joe Wilkins back home to Montana to share his debut novel Fall Back Down When I Die. Joe Wilkins brings Montana and the American West to life with the same authenticity of Daniel Woodrell’s Ozarks and Ron Rash’s Appalachia. Set in eastern Montana ranch country, Fall Back Down When I Die is a beautiful tale of love and sacrifice and bonds that can’t be broken. The novel tells the story of Wendell Newman, a young ranch hand living in a state of chronic despair and Rowdy, the abandoned boy put in his care. Joe Wilkins, who grew up in the rural ranch country of Montana, in the very county in which this novel takes place, is a lyrical storyteller who writes with deep familiarity about the equal parts beauty and brutality in the American West and about the social barriers that act as walls of division.
More about Fall Back Down When I Die
For readers of My Absolute Darling and Fourth of July Creek, a “riveting and timely” (Jess Walter) Montana story about the unbreakable bond between a young man and the abandoned boy put in his care, as old grievances of land and blood are visited upon them.
Wendell Newman, a young ranch hand in Montana, has recently lost his mother, leaving him an orphan. His bank account holds less than a hundred dollars, and he owes back taxes on what remains of the land his parents owned, as well as money for the surgeries that failed to save his mother’s life. An unexpected deliverance arrives in the form of seven-year-old Rowdy Burns, the mute and traumatized son of Wendell’s incarcerated cousin. When Rowdy is put under his care, what begins as an ordeal for Wendell turns into a powerful bond, as he comes to love the boy more than he ever thought possible. That bond will be stretched to the breaking point during the first legal wolf hunt in Montana in more than thirty years, when a murder ignites a desperate chase. Caught on the wrong side of a disaffected fringe group, Wendell is determined both to protect Rowdy and to avoid the same violent fate that claimed his own father.
A gripping story set in a fractured and misunderstood community, Fall Back Down When I Die is a haunting and unforgettable tale of sacrificial love.
More about Joe Wilkins
Joe Wilkins’s memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, won the GLCA New Writers Award for nonfiction, and his work has appeared in the Georgia Review, the Harvard Review, and Slate, among many other periodicals. He is a Pushcart Prize winner and a finalist for the National Magazine Award and the PEN/USA Award. Wilkins lives with his wife and two children in western Oregon, where he teaches writing at Linfield College.
This event is free and open to the public. Most of our events are held upstairs, but we do not have an elevator. Please contact us with any accessibility concerns. To join the signing line and have books signed by the author at this event, please consider purchasing your copy of Fall Back Down When I Die from Country Bookshelf, either in-store, over the phone, or online. By purchasing your book from Country Bookshelf, you are not only supporting a locally owned, independent business, but you are also showing publishers that they should continue sending authors to Country Bookshelf. The author's previous titles will be available for purchase at the event as supplies last.
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