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Stars Go Blue

A Novel

List Price: $15.95

June 9, 2015 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 208 Pages | ISBN 9781619025486

Winner of the 2015 High Plains Award in Fiction

Laura Pritchett is an award-winning author who has quickly become one of the West’s defining literary voices. We first met hardscrabble ranchers Renny and Ben Cross in Laura’s debut collection, and now in Stars Go Blue, they are estranged, elderly spouses living on opposite ends of their sprawling ranch, faced with the particular decline of a fading farm and Ben’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. He is just on the cusp of dementia, able to recognize he is sick but unable to do anything about it—the notes he leaves in his pockets and around the house to remind him of himself, his family, and his responsibilities are no longer as helpful as they used to be. Watching his estranged wife forced into care-taking and brought to her breaking point, Ben decides to leave his life with whatever dignity and grace remains.

As Ben makes his decision, a new horrible truth comes to light: Ray, the abusive husband of their late daughter is being released from prison early. This opens old wounds in Ben, his wife, his surviving daughter, and four grandchildren. Branded with a need for justice, Ben must act before his mind leaves him, and sets off during a brutal snowstorm to confront the man who murdered his daughter. Renny, realizing he is missing, sets off to either stop or witness her husband’s act of vengeance.

Stars Go Blue is a triumphant novel of the American family, buffered by the workings of a ranch and the music offered by the landscape and animal life upon it.

LAURA PRITCHETT is the author of Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, which received the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and a PEN USA Award for Fiction. For Sky Bridge, she received the WILLA Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines including The Sun, Orion, High Country News, Salon, Desert Journal and others. Pritchett lives with her family in the foothills of northern Colorado.

Praise

“Evocative.” —More

“This is a short, but excellent, novel about the Cross’s, an American ranching family…. The characters in Stars Go Blue are brave despite their flaws, and this book delivers a very powerful message about families.” —Alberni Valley Times

“Pritchett’s prose is luminous and sparse, her dialogue revealing and muscular… She writes to understand, and, in doing so, invites the reader to explore the boundaries of their own relationships and the decisions they have made, out of fear, out of anger, or out of love. It’s an invitation you should accept.” —The Coloradoan

Stars Go Blue is a taut, sparse and fiercely tenderhearted novel. But the novel also is brimming with hope and love and edge-of-your-seat tension. Fans of author Kent Haruf will savor Pritchett’s style and the emotional resilience of her characters.” —Explore Steamboat

“Author Laura Pritchett does a wonderful job weaving her story with terrific wording and emotion. She helps bring to life what Alzheimer’s can be like for both the sufferers and the caregivers. The rough life of Colorado ranchers and the repercussions of losing a family member are also movingly portrayed. While this book is not a happy one, it is very poignant.” —Deseret News

“Renny and Ben are such spot-on characterizations of real-life people I love that it makes Stars Go Blue heartbreaking to read. But this book is still beautiful, and I’m glad I did read it, because we do find some redemption and catharsis at the end—and some satisfying, dramatic revenge.” —Missoula Independent

“[An] emotionally charged new book… Pritchett delivers a brilliant novel, filled with heartache and humor, that will strike a chord with many readers. A heart-wrenching exploration of a family in crisis.” —Library Journal Starred Review

“Pritchett is relentless with the themes she creates to the point where repetition itself becomes a theme in the novel. Each concept crashes over the heads of the characters, and each seem to be drowning equally in grief and ecstasy, especially in the “remembering room,” which Ben meditates on as the place in their brains where his memories lie. Above all the concept that there is innate love for this world in each of us, and love for us innately embedded in this world, is expressed clearly in Stars Go Blue as the narratives weave in and out of each other and wash over the reader from beginning to end.” —High Desert Journal

“Pritchett has a remarkable talent for laying down the harshness of ranch—and human—life without letting the narrative itself descend into bitterness, and the novel ends not on the kind of saccharine note one might expect, but survival and acceptance. Her clean prose draws the reader into painfully real evocations of all who suffer, even as she lets the beauty of the world blossom.” —Daily Boulder Camera

“Pritchett’s prose is so beautifully crafted that she manages to make sadness beautiful and tragedy compelling.” —Real Simple

“Colorado writer Laura Pritchett is one of the emerging luminaries of western fiction, an author whose work celebrates the beauty of the rocky mountain landscape while immersing the reader in the daily struggles of those who make their living off the often unforgiving land… Pritchett’s compassionate realism has echoes of the great Colorado novelist, Kent Haruff.” —OnEarth Magazine

“There is more than just the bleak and unforgiving setting of the Rocky Mountain foothills to recommend Pritchett to fans of Kent Haruf’s similarly placed novels. Strength of character and simplicity of language comparably complement a rich underpinning of savagery and sadness as Pritchett sensitively navigates the end of a life and sublimely realizes its enduring legacy.” —Booklist Starred Review

“Laura Pritchett’s is a fine new voice, fully her own, with wise sensibilities. The deep territory mapped here in the triangular boundary between regret and endurance and hope is well illuminated and finely wrought.” —Rick Bass, author of The Stars, the Sky, the Wilderness

Stars Go Blue manages to be both warm-hearted and violent at once — a complex deeply-imagined family tale which finds unexpected gifts at its conclusion. Laura Pritchett is a writer who knows country life on the Rocky Mountain front range thoroughly and she conveys this physical world expertly, beautifully out of her long experience. Within this specific place her clear depiction of character and suspenseful delivery of story compel us to the last exact word.” —Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong and Eventide

“Laura Pritchett is to be congratulated for the brilliant telling of a story this true and this tough. Stars Go Blue is an unswerving exploration into the trials of aging and its related losses, while giving testimony to the hardiness of the human spirit and the ways in which we transcend our own frailty in the name of love.” —Claire Davis, author of Winter Range

“Laura Pritchett shows us the “heart–slashing times” in all their terrible, joyful specificity, performing the simple but miraculous prestidigitation of human empathy. Stars Go Blue is a nerve-jangling, heart-wrenching treat—a tale you won’t easily forget about a man struggling to remember.” —Steve Amick, author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake and Nothing But a Smile

“Laura Pritchett’s new book is a novel about family and the Western spirit to which they are born; her characters bound off the page as if released from the pull of gravity. In prose as bright as mountain air we meet a retired rancher whose memory is failing and his estranged, hard-bitten wife, as each attempts to prepare for the release from prison of the stranger who murdered their daughter. Their narratives are as gripping as they are intelligent, as wise as they are funny, as unsentimental as they are tender. What results is proof positive that Pritchett is one of Colorado’s best-kept literary secrets, a superb writer who not only knows her people and the world they come, quietly and without fanfare, explores this difficult balance.” —Kent Meyers, author of Twisted Tree

“Laura Pritchett’s new book is a novel about family and the Western spirit to which they are born; her characters bound off the page as if released from the pull of gravity. In prose as bright as mountain air we meet a retired rancher whose memory is failing and his estranged, hard-bitten wife, as each attempts to prepare for the release from prison of the stranger who murdered their daughter. Their narratives are as gripping as they are intelligent, as wise as they are funny, as unsentimental as they are tender. What results is proof positive that Pritchett is one of Colorado’s best-kept literary secrets, a superb writer who not only knows her people and the world they come from, but respects and loves them.” —Laura Hendrie, author of Stygo

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