Under Cottonwoods: A Novel of Friendship, Fly Fishing, and Redemption (Paperback)
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Under Cottonwoods is a lyrical novel of two Wyoming friends who are drawn together by their love of fly fishing and the outdoors. Walter is a handsome young man whose face and brain are scarred as a result of a climbing accident that has left him partially paralyzed and mentally diminished. Mike, who lost both of his parents when he was a young teen, is in his own way as handicapped as Walter. Mike seems at first to be the stronger, compassionately lending a hand to an unfortunate friend, but it’s soon clear that each is giving the other something priceless: the insight and courage to challenge the odds, embrace reality, and find a way to flourish and grow. Through quiet times on pristine streams, dangerous times on angry rivers, and the daily grind of a life of diminished expectations, the men grow stronger as their friendship deepens. With Mike’s help, Walter reestablishes a bond with his father and dares to chance romance, while Mike, with Walter’s constant encouragement and astute observations, makes peace with his wife.
Stephen Grace’s exploration of life after tragedy, is a perfect blend of humor and compassion rare in a first--or any--contemporary novel.
About the Author
Stephen Grace has worked various jobs as a deckhand, a white-water rafting guide, a youth counselor, a social worker, and a volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he is at work on his next novel.
Praise for Under Cottonwoods: A Novel of Friendship, Fly Fishing, and Redemption…
"Under Cottonwoods is a heartbreaking, funny, and ultimately exhilarating story of the human spirit as embodied in its memorable duet, Mike and Walter. This first novel is so splendidly-crafted and realized, it shines. To surpass it will be Stephen Grace's next challenge and task. Three cheers!"--Stratis Haviaras, founder of The Harvard Review
"In his first novel, Grace writes with a lyrical power, celebrating the healing power of the human spirit set free in the wilds."--Los Angeles Times
"Under Cottonwoods is inspiring without being maudlin, exciting but not contrived. Wilderness areas are beautifully described in well-drawn prose other writers may envy. You don't have to be a fly fisherman or outdoorsman to enjoy this one. If you appreciate a good story, enhanced by excellent writing, this book is a must read. It has my highest recommendation."--MidWest Book Review
I read Under Cottonwoods with my thirteen year old son and we both loved it--he for the fishing action, I for the novel's flawed, searching, and wholly sympathetic characters. Stephen Grace has crafted a humane and hopeful story that will engage both nature lovers and champions of the human spirit.--Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True. "Under Cottonwoods is a lyrical, honest portrait of friendship, loss, renewal, and redemption and a thoroughly enjoyable, easy read."--The Telluride Watch