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Ruthie Fear: Book summary and reviews of Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff

Ruthie Fear

A Novel

by Maxim Loskutoff

Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff X
Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Sep 1, 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

In this haunting parable of the American West, a young woman faces the violent past of her remote Montana valley.

As a child in Montana's Bitterroot Valley, Ruthie Fear sees an apparition: a strange, headless creature near a canyon creek. Its presence haunts her throughout her youth. Raised in a trailer by her stubborn, bowhunting father, Ruthie develops a powerful connection with the natural world but struggles to find her place in a society shaped by men. Development, gun violence, and her father's vendettas threaten her mountain home. As she comes of age, her small community begins to fracture in the face of class tension and encroaching natural disaster, and the creature she saw long ago reappears as a portent of the valley's final reckoning.

An entirely new kind of western and the first novel from one of this generation's most wildly imaginative writers, Ruthie Fear captures the destruction and rebirth of the modern American West with warmth, urgency, and grandeur. The Technicolor bursts of action that test Ruthie's commitment to the valley and its people invite us to look closer at our nation's complicated legacy of manifest destiny, mass shootings, and environmental destruction. Anchored by its unforgettable heroine, Ruthie Fear presents the rural West as a place balanced on a knife-edge, at war with itself, but still unbearably beautiful and full of love.

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Reviews

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Reader Reviews

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Maggie R. (Canoga Park, CA)

A sometimes painful pageturner
I'm so glad to have met Ruthie Fear and accompanied her from childhood through a "coming-of-age" narrative marked by a strong tie to the world of nature and bruising experiences with the people she encounters. Ruthie has a mind of her own, a persistent drive to be herself in spite of the expectations of her society. And that society is so far from my own that it is both painful and thrilling. The writing is beautiful. Characters are diverse, wildly so. There are moments when I was reluctant to turn the page but at the same time anxious to find out what comes next. Trigger alert for those who are disturbed by, shall we say, unkind treatment of animals - this may not be the read for you.

Gary R. (Bolingbrook, IL)

An ode to the Bitterroot Valley
I don't now where to start! Such a good read, the story of Ruthie Fear and also the Bitterroot Valley of Montana! We get to watch the life of Ruthie Fear and her father Rutherford as they live their lives in the shadow of the Montana mountains. A tough life for sure but somehow rewarding and simple. The ending was, in a way, fitting! But what happened? You'll just have to read it, well worth the time

Monica P. (Cleves, OH)

I'm Blown Away
I just finished this book a few minutes ago and I sit here stunned and emotional. So emotional I'm not sure what to say. This story was way out of my usual genre, but oh my!

Every sentence was beautifully and poetically written and sometimes that was the only thing that kept me reading. The unique and gritty storyline was not always comfortable to me, but I'm glad I stepped out of my box. This was not written as fluff and I imagine the author agonized over these pages.

Would I recommend this one? You bet I would, but be prepared because it's no beach read and I mean that in a good way.

Peggy H. (North East, PA)

Tough Read
I found this a difficult book to get into. I started it and put it down and put it off, maybe because I have never been to Montana. The land and environment is as much a character of this book as Ruth herself.

Once I did get into the book (about a quarter way through), I zipped through it quickly. It is ambitious and touches on so many topics--the environment, the clash of the haves and have nots, the treatment of the indigenous through the eyes of a coming of age girl.

It ends up being a mix of Twin Peaks/Stranger Things with a weird and surprising ending. I am still shaking my head, mostly because I like things that surprise me.

Marilyn G. (Phoenixville, PA)

A Lingering Tale
A poignant story that follows the life of Ruthie Fear as she grew up in Bitterroot Valley, a pristine place that fell victim to civilization and "progress". Haunted by a headless, feathered monster from childhood, Ruthie's life is shaped and challenged by many contemporary themes that affect us today. Both beautiful and ugly, happy and sad, Ruthie Fear will linger long after you read the last word.

Jennie W. (Denver, CO)

Ruthie Fear
The story of Ruthie and her place in the world is beautifully and poetically told. The world she inhabits is gritty and real and she vacillates between hating it and needing to be a part of it. I had to put the book down at times just to step away from the emotion I would start to feel, only to be drawn right back into the story a few hours later. I am blown away by the writing and storytelling and would recommend the book to anyone.

...10 more reader reviews

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More Information

Raised in small towns in the west, Maxim Loskutoff is the critically acclaimed author of Come West and See, an NPR and Amazon Best Book of 2018, a New York Times Editor's Pick, and winner of the High Plains Book Award. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Ploughshares, and Playboy. His debut novel Ruthie Fear is forthcoming from W.W. Norton in September 2020. He lives in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana. Visit him at maximtloskutoff.com.

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