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Bonnie Nadzam was born in Cleveland, went to school in Chicago and has moved continually westward since then. She studied English literature and environmental studies at Carleton College and earned an MA and PhD from the University of Southern California. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in a wide range of literary publications and she taught creative writing at Colorado College. She is married to her childhood sweetheart and lives with him in the Rocky Mountains.
From the winner of the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, an elegiac and lyrical novel about a young couple whose love-and everything they know to be true-is threatened by the arrival of an unwelcome stranger in their collapsing eastern Colorado townBonnie Nadzam-author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning debut Lamb-returns with this scorching, haunting portrait of a rural community in a "e;living ghost town"e; on the brink of collapse, and the individuals who are confronted with either chasing their dreams or-against all reason-staying where they are.Lions is set on the high plains of Colorado, a nearly deserted place, steeped in local legends and sparse in population. Built to be a glorious western "e;city upon a hill,"e; it was never fit for farming, mining, trading, or any of the illusory sources of wealth its pioneers imagined. The Walkers have been settled on its barren terrain for generations-a simple family in a town otherwise still taken in by stories of bigger, better, brighter.When a traveling stranger appears one day, his unsettling presence sets off a chain reaction that will change the fates of everyone he encounters. It begins with the patriarch John Walker as he succumbs to a heart attack. His devastated son Gordon is forced to choose between leaving for college with his girlfriend, Leigh, and staying with his family to look after their floundering welding shop and, it is believed, to continue carrying out a mysterious task bequeathed to all Walker men. While Leigh is desperate to make a better life in the world beyond the desolation of Lions, Gordon is strangely hesitant to leave it behind. As more families abandon the town, he is faced with what seems to be a reasonable choice and the burden of betraying his own heart.A story of awakening, Lions is an exquisite novel that explores ambition and an American obsession with self-improvement, the responsibilities we have to ourselves and each other, and the everyday illusions that pass for a life worth living.
`She was coming toward him in a crooked purple tube top and baggy shorts and brassy sandals studded with rhinestones. She carried a huge pink patent-leather purse and was possibly the worst thing he'd seen all day. `Hi.' She had a little gap between her teeth, and her eyes were wide set, and she had one of those noses with perfectly round nostrils. She was a pale little freckled pig with eyelashes. `I'm supposed to ask you for a cigarette.' This ugly kid before Lamb was obviously the brunt of a joke. Stupid. And reckless. Had they any idea who he was? Why he was standing alone in a black suit? What kind of heart, if any, hung inside him? And how was this not a joke on him? He took a pull on his own cigarette and put it out on the bottom of his beautifully polished shoe.' Tommie is eleven. Lamb is a middle-aged man. He is convinced that he can help her avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness. He even comes to believe that his devotion is in her best interest.