University of Nevada Press


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ISBN: 978-0-87417-744-2
Binding: [Hardcover]
Pages: 312
Publication date: 2008
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Little Lost River
In the wake of tragedy, two young women forge a friendship that transforms their lives. Set in Boise, Idaho in the early 1980’s, Little Lost River is the story of two young women who come together in the wake of tragedy. Cindy Morgan is still reeling from the loss of her mother when an accident leaves her boyfriend missing and presumed drowned. When Frances Rogers happens upon the accident site, she stays with Cindy until help arrives. In the aftermath of that night’s events, as Cindy faces her future with a determination often misunderstood as indifference, Frances becomes her source of both support and compassion. Cindy and Frances are determined to find their own lives unencumbered by conventional expectations, but their path to adulthood is neither easy nor clear, and the future that each girl finds is not what she expected or planned. One generation follows another, and in the end the girls learn that life moves on its own path, that “transformation is what takes you forward. It’s the only constant thing.”
“I was gripped by Johnston’s account of Fran’s and Cindy’s growing friendship and their struggle for independence. Johnston’s characterization of the two girls is vivid and compelling, and her writing is excellent. I enjoyed reading Little Lost River more than any novel I have reviewed during the past several years. ”-Mary Clearman Blew, author of Lambing Out, and Other Stories

Little Lost River is a powerful meditation on the joys and limitations of motherhood. Johnston writes with rare honesty of the barren spaces in the most intimate relationships, but suggests, in her moving laconic prose, that by accepting these gaps and lapses, we may find some solace in the hidden underground river connecting us all.” -Trudy Lewis, author of The Bones of Garbo and Private Correspondences

“Pamela Johnston’s Little Lost River is a novel of redemption with human, rather than spiritual, underpinnings. What redeems these characters is love––the imperfect love that is the best thing we have to offer one another. Johnston’s evocative prose lets the reader feel how the landscape of the West limns these characters’ lives. I love the psychological acuity of this novel, whose youthful characters speak to us in voices that are confiding, clear-minded, and probing.” -Elizabeth Oness, author of Twelve Rivers of the Body

"There are many remarkable things about this novel. Johnston's prose is powerfully meditative and hypnotic. The distinctive voices of these young narrators ring true and guileless, tinged with bleakness but also with a kind of edgy, tenacious hope." - San Antonio Express News

"An ear for the way people really talk is rare, but rarer still is an inner ear for the way they really feel. Johnston has that..." - The Boise Weekly