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Hell's Bottom, Colorado by [Laura Pritchett]

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Hell's Bottom, Colorado Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Winner of the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, Pritchett's debut is an admirable, steely-eyed collection of stories and vignettes featuring a family of ranchers in mountain-shadowed Colorado. Pritchett, raised a rancher herself, writes beautifully about the hard work and casual cruelty of ranch life. Forest fires, stillborn animals, poverty, cold and violence: all play as significant a role in the shaping of these characters as their emotionally hardscrabble family life. The three family groups that form the collection's core are brought uneasily together by an act of violence: the murder by her own husband, Ray of Rachel, youngest daughter of stubborn matriarch Renny. Some of the finest writing is in the stories about Rachel's children, Billy and Jess: "A Fine White Dust" chillingly illustrates their relationship with Rachel's abusive husband, and in "Dry Roots," one of the most painful and evocative stories, Billy and Jess come upon a horribly mutilated calf the property of a vicious neighbor and must make the decision to end its suffering. Pritchett's emotional revelations are often painted with broad strokes, as when Ben and Anita, estranged brother and sister, agree "that devastation looks pretty damn good from afar." But just as often, the writing is redeemed by fierce tenderness: "The wheat is starting to turn, flashes of deep gold streaking through tall, waving green....I suspect most city-folk... don't realize that wheat grows up green and living and then it dies, and that's when it becomes useful." Fans of Annie Proulx's Close Range: Wyoming Stories and Jon Billman's When We Were Wolves should enjoy this visceral, accomplished collection.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"I’ve about had it with you hooligans," Jess sings out, mimicking my father. "I’m growing impatient with your childishness.’ Strands of blond hair lit by the sun shoot up from yesterday’s braids. She’s wearing blue shorts and red cowboy boots and there’s two slices of leg in between.
I wonder if she realizes how much I see. If anyone notices how I watch Dad and Jack laugh as they give up boxing and wave and whoop at the cows, how my mother stands in the corner preparing the syringes. How Billy, sitting quietly on the tailgate of the pickup, looks like he might be remembering who he is and what it’s like to smile.
I wonder if they see me, sitting on the cement rim of the stock tank, in shorts and sandals and a clipboard on my lap. Where I always sit, where I watch and keep the records with my pen. Straight columns, even and perfect. I am the record keeper."
from Hell’s Bottom, Colorado
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00A2X9U7Y
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Milkweed Editions; 1st edition (December 10, 2011)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ December 10, 2011
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 241 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 142 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 25 ratings

About the author

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Laura Pritchett's newest book, Making Friends with Death: A Guide to Your Impending Last Breath, has just been released by VIVA Editions, 2017 -- more at

She's also the author of five literary novels: The Blue Hour (Counterpoint, 2017), Red Lightning (Counterpoint, 2015) Stars Go Blue (Counterpoint, 2014), Sky Bridge (Milkweed Editions, 2009), and Hell's Bottom, Colorado (Milkweed Editions, 2001) - more at

Awards for these novels include the PEN USA Award, the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, the WILLA Award, the High Plains Book Award for Fiction, the Colorado Book Award, and others.

She is also the author/editor of four books of nonfiction: Great Colorado Bear Stories, Pulse of the River, Home Land, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers.

Pritchett has also published over 200 essays and short stories in numerous magazines, including The New York Times Modern Love, The Sun, O (Oprah’s) Magazine, Orion, High Country News, Writers on the Range, Salon, The Normal School, High Desert Journal, OnEarth, Natural Resources Journal, 5280 (Denver's Magazine), The Pinch, and others. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart on several occasions. She is the recipient of several residencies, including Ucross (Wyoming), Earthskin (New Zealand), and Playa (Oregon), and has been recognized by several organizations for environmental stewardship.

She holds a Ph.D. from Purdue University. When not writing or teaching, she can generally be found outside in Colorado’s mountains.

Customer reviews

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