Release Date: March 15, 2020
About The Book:
First Place (Memoir) • Idaho Writers Guild 2020 Competition
When DJ Lee’s dear friend vanishes in the vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana, she travels there to seek answers. The journey unexpectedly brings to an end her fifteen-year quest to uncover the buried history of her family in this remote place. Although Lee doesn’t find all the answers, she comes away with a penetrating memoir that weaves her present-day story with past excursions into the region, wilderness history, and family secrets.
As she grapples with wild animal stand-offs, bush plane flights in dense fog, raging forest fires, and strange characters who have come to the wilderness to seek or hide, Lee learns how she can survive emotionally and how the wilderness survives as an ecosystem. Her growing knowledge of the life cycles of salmon and wolverine, the regenerative role of fire, and Nimíipuu land practices helps her find intimacy in this remote landscape.
Skillfully intertwining history, outdoor adventure, and mystery, Lee’s memoir is an engaging contribution to the growing body of literature on women and wilderness and a lyrical tribute to the spiritual connection between people and the natural world.
About The Author:
DJ LEE is Regents Professor of literature and creative writing at Washington State University. Her creative work includes over thirty award-winning non-fiction pieces in magazines and anthologies. She has published eight books on literature, history, and the environment, including The Land Speaks. Lee is director of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness History Project and a scholar-fellow at the Black Earth Institute. Find her at http://debbiejlee.com/
Part adventure story, part cautionary tale, DJ Lee’s quest weaves through memory and meaning like a broken trail. The ghosts she is searching for–her grandmother, her grandfather, her friend lost in the wilderness and never found–appear and disappear in moments of mystery. Like the archivist she is, Lee pins her investigations to historical and archeological facts, even as she revels in the lyrical otherworldliness of extreme isolation. Her narrative reads like a journal of longing and belonging, bravery and fear, clarity and insanity, celebration and lament. Always, what she offers is a map that we might follow: more than blood, it is a story that binds us–all that we have to make sense of our lives. –Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country
DJ Lee’s Remote offers profound and moving meditations on nature and narrative, frequently on the two phenomena together. –Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility
As DJ Lee and her remarkable family and friends circle and tussle around a remote ranger station over several generations, they will draw you into their mountains and mysteries as deeply as they did me. A book to remember. –Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and Magdalena Mounta
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