So DRY LAND came out a week ago! I am feeling overwhelmed, in a good way!
I had the launch at my wonderful local indie, Boswell Books, where a bunch of my friends and colleagues came out to ask me smart questions. Pics below this post.
If you want to buy the book, you can get it directly from U of Wisconsin Press, at Bookshop.org (temporarily out of stock), B&N, or best of all, your local indie bookstore (mine are Boswell Books in Milwaukee and A Room of One’s Own in Madison!).
I’m still feeling too bowled-over to have coherent thoughts, but I wanted to collect some initial news, interviews, and reviews:
- I’m going to be at the Wisconsin Book Festival on October 19! I’ll be giving a talk on DRY LAND at 5.30 in the Central Library. The event is also sponsored by the Wisconsin Science Festival, which is deeply cool and very appropriate for DL, which is a book with so many debts to Wisconsin conservation history (and Aldo Leopold in particular). And the incredible queer-as-hell Room of One’s Own will be handling sales!
- In late October / early November I’ll be visiting the Mountain School at Milton Academy in Vermont, whose students will be (omg) reading DL as part of their fall 2023 curriculum! If you’re in the area, I’ll also be doing a public talk in Vershire.
Laura Sackton wrote a gorgeous, glowing, lengthy review on her instagram that so utterly understands what I was trying to do with DL–down to pulling out and excerpting some of my favorite lines!–I doubt it’ll ever be topped, review-wise. I’m so honored and grateful for such thoughtful readers, and to know that there are people in this world who’ll get DL so deeply:
This novel unfolds in those quiet, in-between places—quiet prose, a quiet setting, a quiet love story. It’s a book about listening and talking, and all the things they do that Rand’s magic cannot. It’s about a man who’s been trained not to trust his instinct to watch, to tend, to let himself become a part of a landscape, changed by it and changing it. The world teaches him a version of conservation, and a version of being a man, defined by managing, directing, asserting. Someone doing and someone being done to. But you cannot listen and talk with something you are not in relationship with, whether it’s a beloved swamp, an old farm, a tree, your sister, your lover. You cannot love something well in grand gestures. Love happens in the in-between spaces. I could go on at length. This is historical climate fiction, a tender but thorny love story, an ode to trees and the woods of Wisconsin, a rejection of the violent binaries that separate humans from nature, a complicated meditation on the relationship between queerness and the natural world. The whole book stunned me. I wept, I got lost, I felt renewed. Prickly and beautiful queer nature magic, all the way down.
Like, oh my god.
- I did a written interview at Madison Magazine with Maggie Ginsberg, who asked me smart, incisive questions about everything from the danger of martyrdom to Wisconsin landscapes to queer history.
- I did a list of 20th-century queer historical fiction at Electric Literature! It’s a tie-in novel post but every single book on this list is phenomenal and worth reading.
- I recorded an interview with Madison Bookbeat and Cole Erickson, who also asked me great questions; I talk about the history of conservation in this one, as well as the genesis of the novel.
- I recorded an interview with G. P. Gottlieb at the New Books Network; she asked me fantastic questions and we had a good talk about queer friendship and the relationship between ideas of wilderness and early 20th-century eugenics.
Book launch pics!