Excerpt from Wyoming by JP Gritton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by JP Gritton

Wyoming by JP Gritton X
Wyoming by JP Gritton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Nov 2019, 246 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Ian Muehlenhaus
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"You're asking me does Mike bowl?"

Starbuck's mouth kind of twisted itself shut.  After a second he started to say more: "About five, six months ago…"

But then I guess he changed his mind, 'cause he broke off. We just stood there quiet, and I wondered should I stick my hand out, tell Starbuck, See you Monday. I don't know why I didn't, exactly, except somehow I knew he wasn't through with me yet.

"You ever hear the one about Ray Corliss and the doctor?" Starbuck asked after a long while.  "Doctor come out to see him. You know what Ray ask him, first thing. Doctor, Ray says, you got anything to drink? Doctor says, Cancer patients aren't supposed to drink, Mr. Corliss. And Ray Corliss says, It ain't my liver, doc, it's my pancreas."

Jarvis laughed, too loud. I smiled, 'cause it's Starbuck told the story, and I knew I'd better. Still I was shamed of myself, smiling.

"It's too bad," I said. "It's too bad about Mike's dad." Meaning, Ray's cancer, but Starbuck just shook his head:

"No, it isn't," he said. "What's too bad is, she couldn't leave him until he was too sick to chase after her. That's what's too bad."

She. As in, Mike's momma. And so I come to understand why nobody'd ever fired Mike Corliss before then: nobody'd ever felt mean enough to try it. And now Starbuck pointed with his chin crossed the bar: "What I'm saying is, the apple never falls too far from the tree."

And I turned, figuring I'd see Mike tangled up with the roughnecks. But that isn't what I saw. Mike was standing over at May's table. May had her arms folded over her chest. That look on her face, like when she's trying not to smile.


Seems to me there isn't much mystery to it. Either a woman likes you or she doesn't. You come to her, pulled by the same nothing that'll make a compass point north. You talk to her, and what you say doesn't have to make any sense. You tip your mouth close to her ear. You say, Seen any swamp rabbits lately? And she tries not to smile. She tells you, You're crazy. You're just out of your mind, Mike.

That's how a man and a woman come nearer, nearer to each other. Like the beasts of the field. Forget about the pool game, the Clay County boys you were fixing to tussle with. Forget Laughton Starbuck up at the bar. Forget about your best friend, sitting over at the table with his date.

"You're crazy," she kept saying.

"I'm crazy?" I told her. "You're the swamp rabbit."

I don't know what to say about it. Some things are so simple, it doesn't do any good trying to explain them. After a while we went out to Syrena's car and necked some. I knew she wanted it, but being honest with you I didn't know how to get things started.

I said, "Okay, well."

"Well what?"

My ex has a strange kind of laugh, a sound like bells: too high-pitched, the sort of laugh you hear on TV, so that somehow you got the feeling she didn't want to laugh in the first place. I kissed her on the mouth and tried not to think about it too much when she rammed her tongue between my teeth. This whole time she's just flopping and flapping under me like something at the bottom of a canoe. Arms and legs a-going. An octopus, I thought, and I remembered Mike telling me a giant squid's mouth is in its stomach.

I get her undressed and before long things are up and running and I'm shuddering and shimmying and feeding myself into her.

"Don't you gunk in me," she said, giving my arm a little bite. "Don't you even think about it."

I won't, I told her, but I did. And then I didn't know what to say.

"Okay, well."

"Okay well what."

I didn't know what. I tried to think what time it must be, and it seemed like it was probably pretty late. The Go-Go would close soon. And I flashed on them all gathered round the windows and laughing and whoo-ee, boy, Starbuck and Jarvis and Mike Corliss and I don't know who all, everybody just gray shadows in the light off the bug lamps, blob-faces pressed up against the car windows.

Excerpted from Wyoming by JP Gritton. Copyright © 2019 by JP Gritton. Excerpted by permission of Tin House Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  An Interview with JP Gritton

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Red Memory
    Red Memory
    by Tania Branigan
    Tania Branigan's Red Memory is an astounding and often harrowing study of Mao's China. A lead writer...
  • Book Jacket: The Postcard
    The Postcard
    by Anne Berest
    Anne Berest's The Postcard — with an elegant translation from the French by Tina Cover &...
  • Book Jacket
    by Jennifer Saint
    Few cultures in history mastered the art of tragedy quite like the ancient Greeks. And very few ...
  • Book Jacket: Salvage This World
    Salvage This World
    by Michael Farris Smith
    In the near-future universe of Michael Farris Smith's Salvage This World, life-threatening ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Little Italian Hotel
    by Phaedra Patrick

    Sunny, tender and brimming with charm, The Little Italian Hotel explores marriage, identity and reclaiming the present moment.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

Y S M Back A I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.