Songs for a River, the new novel by Jerry McGahan, features the original artwork of Janet McGahan, Eugene Beckes, and the author himself. Jerry McGahan is the author of the novel A Condor Brings the Sun and the story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down. His fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, The North American Review, Antioch Review, The Iowa Review, and a number of other literary journals. He lives with his artist wife Janet in Arlee, Montana, where he writes, paints, and gardens. Prizewinner Doug Peacock praises "Jerry McGahan as one hell of a writer. He spins these carefully crafted stories of ordinary characters from western Montana, until they begin to swim outward to fill the spaces beyond the fence lines of domesticity... to the haunted history of all who inhabit the land."
JERRY MCGAHAN is the author of the novel A Condor Brings the Sun and the short story collection The Deer Walking Upside Down. His fiction has appeared in The Georgia Review, Ploughshares, The North American Review, Antioch Review, The Iowa Review, and a number of other literary journals. His paintings have been featured in exhibitions at the Dana Gallery Icons of the West, the Missoula Museum of the Arts, Yellowstone Art Museum, and Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, among other venues. He has a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. McGahan’s documentary film set in South America was featured in the National Geographic film-lecture series and BBC's in the 'The World Around Us' series.
JANET MCGAHAN is a Montana native and received her B.A. from the University of Montana. She has lived in Arlee on the Jocko River with her husband Jerry for 35 years. She studied privately with the late Tu Baixiong; Janet works in watercolor, oil and pastel. Her publications include a wildlife greeting card series for Pine Creek Graphics, illustrations for Giving Voice to Bear and The Nature of North America by David Rockwell, and cover art for Bitterroot by Jerry DeSanto. She is represented by Dana Gallery in Missoula, Montana. Janet is a signature member of the Montana Watercolor Society, an associate member of the Oil Painters of America, and a member of the Killdeer Artisans Guild in Arlee. She has original works in private collections throughout the United States.
EUGENE BECKES: "As a child I had the great fortune of living across the street from a good patch of wild land. Exploring there, I grew to love birds and wildlife, and years later, was to make my living as an artist and photographer. I was also privileged to roam the country when I was young, hitchhiking many thousands of miles, including trips that spanned the continent. Later, I began hopping freight trains and taking bicycle trips, several of which took months to complete. I’ve bicycled on three continents and loved (almost) every minute of my travels. The retired version of me takes bird and scenic photos just about every day when weather will allow. It’s all good."
Jerry McGahan's A Condor Brings the Sun is about history, about exile, about belonging. In telling the story of Pilar, he presents us with a story of many Americas, and how those Americas are in conflict with one another. But if this novel is about conflict, it is mostly about survival, not only Pilar's survival, but the survival of the earth to which she belongs. Mr. McGahan's prose is as wise as it is luminous — he has written a beautiful and compelling tale, a tale about healing, a tale we need to hear at the end of this century of destruction.
— Benjamin Alire Sáenz, author of Carry Me Like Water
About The Deer Walking Upside Down: "Jerry McGahan is one hell of a writer. He spins these carefully crafted stories of ordinary characters from western Montana, until they begin to swim outward to fill the spaces beyond the fence lines of domesticity. During the last story in this collection, "Asleep in a Sturgeon," the mundane lodges firmly against the epic; an ancient woman melts out of a glacier with the story of her people, the haunted history of all people who inhabit the land. This collection is a considerable achievement."
— Doug Peacock, award-winning author of Grizzly Years and In the Shadow of the Sabertooth
McGahan brings the world of the Runa to extraordinary life, weaving generational voices, cultures, and landscapes into a story that grabs you by the guts, heart, and brain in one astounding surge. This is a brilliant achievement, a novel that combines the often fatal sweep of Western history with the timeless circle of the Indian Andes, that merges magic, revolutionary violence, and the rich everyday lives of people trying simply to live and remember who they are.
— Louis Owens, author of Bone Game
Songs for a River, pp 138-39
Songs for a River, 184-85
Songs for a River, pp 62-63
Songs for a River, pp 212-13
Halvor Aakhus © 2022