(Canceled due to weather) John Larison discusses his new novel Whiskey When We're Dry
Friday 9/14, 6:30 p.m.
From a blazing new voice in fiction, a gritty and lyrical American epic about a young woman who disguises herself as a boy and heads west.
In the spring of 1885, seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Harney finds herself orphaned and alone on her family’s homestead. Desperate to fend off starvation and predatory neighbors, she cuts off her hair, binds her chest, saddles her beloved mare, and sets off across the mountains to find her outlaw brother Noah and bring him home. A talented sharpshooter herself, Jess’s quest lands her in the employ of the territory’s violent, capricious Governor, whose militia is also hunting Noah—dead or alive.
Wrestling with her brother’s outlaw identity, and haunted by questions about her own, Jess must outmaneuver those who underestimate her, ultimately rising to become a hero in her own right. Told in Jess’s wholly original and unforgettable voice, Whiskey When We’re Dry is a stunning achievement, an epic as expansive as America itself—and a reckoning with the myths that are entwined with our history. Through his complex and emotionally vibrant ensemble of characters, Larison deftly widens the cast of the American epic, and by exploring those perspectives usually overlooked in our traditional stories of the West, he paints a broader picture of who we are as a nation today, making Whiskey When We're Dry a unique and powerful addition to the literary canon.
John Larison earned an MFA from Oregon State University in 2007. During the eight years he was writing Whiskey When We're Dry, he worked as a fly-fishing guide, a college writing instructor, and a freelance contributor to outdoor magazines. He lives with his family in rural Oregon.