Badluck Way: Book summary and reviews of Badluck Way by Bryce Andrews

Badluck Way

A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West

By Bryce Andrews

Badluck Way
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2014,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

"Mine might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves. In late July, they emerged from the foothills..."

In this gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives and ultimate collision, Bryce Andrews describes life on the remote, windswept Sun Ranch in southwest Montana. The Sun's twenty thousand acres of rangeland occupy a still-wild corner of southwest Montana - a high valley surrounded by mountain ranges and steep creeks with portentous names like Grizzly, Dead Man, and Bad Luck. Just over the border from Yellowstone National Park, the Sun holds giant herds of cattle and elk amid many predators - bears, mountain lions, and wolves.

In lyrical, haunting language, Andrews recounts marathon days and nights of building fences, riding, roping, and otherwise learning the hard business of caring for cattle, an initiation that changes him from an idealistic city kid into a skilled ranch hand. But when wolves suddenly begin killing the ranch's cattle, Andrews has to shoulder a rifle, chase the pack, and do what he'd hoped he would never have to do.

Badluck Way is about transformation and complications, about living with dirty hands every day. It is about the hard choices that wake us at night and take a lifetime to reconcile. Above all, Badluck Way celebrates the breathtaking beauty of wilderness and the satisfaction of hard work on some of the harshest, most beautiful land in the world. Called "an important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals" (Tom Groneberg, author of The Secret Life of Cowboys), Badluck Way is the memorable story of one young man's rebirth in the crucible of the West's timeless landscape, a place at the center of the heart's geography, savage and gorgeous in equal measure.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"An evocative, poetic account of rugged terrain, the men and animals who inhabited it, and the complex realities of sustainable agriculture." - Kirkus

"Andrews paints the rural landscape with such precision that the land becomes its own character, and his story [is] a finely tuned love song for the West." - Booklist

"This memoir of life as a contemporary, ecologically minded Montana cowboy is heartfelt. Andrews' language often sings. Told in a refined version of a campfire ghost story, his narrative took my breath away." - Jana Harris, author of Horses Never Lie about Love

"An important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals." - Tom Groneberg, author of The Secret Life of Cowboys

"Exquisitely written and unflinchingly honest, this haunting memoir about one man's complex relationship with wolves and the wild will stay with you long after you finish it, oh so reluctantly." - Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash

"In this unforgettable memoir, Bryce Andrews conjures the modern West with all its grit and conflict… Haunting and lyrical, this marvelous work belongs on everyone's bookshelf alongside other Western Classics." - Craig Lesley, author of Winterkill and The Sky Fisherman

"Badluck Way is by turns an adventure story of a young man on a sprawling Montana ranch, a thoughtful reflection on the ranching life, and a visceral exploration of the cruel amorality of the natural world. Beautifully written, Andrews's book delivers a powerful emotional punch." - Peter Stark, author of The Last Empty Places

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Bryce Andrews writes from southwest Montana, where he manages a conservation-oriented cattle ranch. He has appeared on Montana Public Radio and PBS and his essays and short work have been published in High Country News, Big Sky Journal, Camas Magazine, and Backpacker.

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