This summer I read a gorgeous piece of prose called Lime Creek by songwriter Joe Henry. I’m not sure what to call it—it’s not quite a novel, not quite a short story collection. A series of prose poems might be the best way to describe it. I got to meet Joe Henry at the Montana Festival of the Book in Missoula in October—he seems as though he has stepped out of another era. He was reticent on the panel we were on together with Bonnie Jo Campbell and Jonathan Evison, as though unused to talking in public. Later he told me he doesn’t have internet access in his cabin in Woody Creek, Colorado, and doesn’t want it. He seemed a little overwhelmed by all the people coming up and talking to him. His work is authentic and moving. Here’s a bit of my review from the High Country News, which ran last week:
160 pages, hardcover: $20.
Random House, 2011.
Woody Creek, Colo.-based Joe Henry studied at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop with John Irving, but then detoured from writing fiction to work as a rancher, becoming a successful lyricist along the way. Henry’s ravishing first work of fiction, Lime Creek, must have been inspired by the Western lifestyle he chose: It’s filled with exquisite snapshots of life on a Wyoming ranch.
The cadences of his prose are unusual and arresting as he tells the elemental story of the Davis family, beginning when father Spencer Davis — “whose soul parties with the antelope smelling of sage and horselather and covered by the insubstantial globe of a great tumbleweed” — meets his future wife Elizabeth on his family’s ranch. She’s there for the summer with her wealthy Connecticut parents, and after Spencer heads to Cambridge for college, they elope.”
Please click through to the High Country News website to read the rest: