Viewing entries tagged with 'Badluck Way'

Badluck Way reviewed in New York Times

March 12, 2014

From the New York Times Sunday Book Review:

After a bout of 20-something wanderlust, Andrews moves from Seattle to southwestern Montana to be a worker on a ranch “committed to conservation and improving the health of the land for wildlife and livestock.” His co-workers there teach him how to worm a horse and ride through the cattle to “settle” them, and never to use the word “cowboy,” except as a verb. Life at the ranch is not without politics.... But the beauty of this book is how such a personal story reflects larger issues about the American West — not just the politics of wildlife and real estate, but the strange, conflicting impulses engendered by such landscapes, illustrated by the day when Andrews pushes rocks off a mountaintop out of sheer joy, sending boulders crashing down into the forest, “shaping the wilderness, if only by punching holes.”

 

Badluck Way by Bryce Andrews (Atria/S&S, 2014) is currently #12 on the PNBA Indie Bookseller List!

 

Posted by waleslit on March 12, 2014  |  Permalink

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ABA Q&A with Bryce Andrews

January 10, 2014

A great interview with Bryce Andrews is up on the American Booksellers Association's website now, as part of their Indies Introduce Debut Authors Q&A. Full interview is here, but here's an excerpt:

 

In Badluck Way, you recount your unique experience of living and working on the fragile interface between tame and wild — a wilderness area and a ranch. Do you think there can ever be peace between ranchers and natural predators?

 

Bryce Andrews: I have more hope for balance, and for coexistence, than I do for a bloodless peace. The lives of ranchers, livestock, and predators unfold on a huge, wild landscape. The Sun Ranch, for example, is around 21,000 acres of benches, hills, creek bottoms, and forests. The Sun, then, is 25 times the size of Central Park. Unlike the park, great swaths of the ranch consist of impenetrable thickets, steep mountainsides, or sinkhole bogs that spell disaster for cattle and horses.

 

In my part of Montana, a rancher must graze his or her herds across a vast, crenulated landscape — a landscape that has grown increasingly full of predators. She or he must do this with the bare minimum of hired help, due to the razor-thin margins of modern agriculture. The end result is that great bunches of dumb, slow, delicious livestock are turned loose each spring in hills that belong to quick-witted, hungry predators. Given what I know about wolves and cattle, it is hard for me to imagine that our summers will ever be wholly without violence. The wolves will take cattle from time to time. Ranchers will lose sleep, and then their tempers.

 

If we hope for something, let it be less blood on both sides of the equation. With each passing year, and each new gruesome wreck, we learn more about how to share the land with predators. Over time, this process can lead us to a form of coexistence that is sustainable, if not entirely peaceful.

 

In Badluck Way, you recount your unique experience of living and working on the fragile interface between tame and wild — a wilderness area and a ranch. Do you think there can ever be peace between ranchers and natural predators?

Bryce Andrews: I have more hope for balance, and for coexistence, than I do for a bloodless peace. The lives of ranchers, livestock, and predators unfold on a huge, wild landscape. The Sun Ranch, for example, is around 21,000 acres of benches, hills, creek bottoms, and forests. The Sun, then, is 25 times the size of Central Park. Unlike the park, great swaths of the ranch consist of impenetrable thickets, steep mountainsides, or sinkhole bogs that spell disaster for cattle and horses.

In my part of Montana, a rancher must graze his or her herds across a vast, crenulated landscape — a landscape that has grown increasingly full of predators. She or he must do this with the bare minimum of hired help, due to the razor-thin margins of modern agriculture. The end result is that great bunches of dumb, slow, delicious livestock are turned loose each spring in hills that belong to quick-witted, hungry predators. Given what I know about wolves and cattle, it is hard for me to imagine that our summers will ever be wholly without violence. The wolves will take cattle from time to time. Ranchers will lose sleep, and then their tempers.

If we hope for something, let it be less blood on both sides of the equation. With each passing year, and each new gruesome wreck, we learn more about how to share the land with predators. Over time, this process can lead us to a form of coexistence that is sustainable, if not entirely peaceful.

- See more at: http://www.bookweb.org/news/indies-introduce-debut-author-qa-bryce-andrews#sthash.8Vq2fVAx.dpuf

In Badluck Way, you recount your unique experience of living and working on the fragile interface between tame and wild — a wilderness area and a ranch. Do you think there can ever be peace between ranchers and natural predators?

Bryce Andrews: I have more hope for balance, and for coexistence, than I do for a bloodless peace. The lives of ranchers, livestock, and predators unfold on a huge, wild landscape. The Sun Ranch, for example, is around 21,000 acres of benches, hills, creek bottoms, and forests. The Sun, then, is 25 times the size of Central Park. Unlike the park, great swaths of the ranch consist of impenetrable thickets, steep mountainsides, or sinkhole bogs that spell disaster for cattle and horses.

In my part of Montana, a rancher must graze his or her herds across a vast, crenulated landscape — a landscape that has grown increasingly full of predators. She or he must do this with the bare minimum of hired help, due to the razor-thin margins of modern agriculture. The end result is that great bunches of dumb, slow, delicious livestock are turned loose each spring in hills that belong to quick-witted, hungry predators. Given what I know about wolves and cattle, it is hard for me to imagine that our summers will ever be wholly without violence. The wolves will take cattle from time to time. Ranchers will lose sleep, and then their tempers.

If we hope for something, let it be less blood on both sides of the equation. With each passing year, and each new gruesome wreck, we learn more about how to share the land with predators. Over time, this process can lead us to a form of coexistence that is sustainable, if not entirely peaceful.

- See more at: http://www.bookweb.org/news/indies-introduce-debut-author-qa-bryce-andrews#sthash.8Vq2fVAx.dpuf

Posted by waleslit on January 10, 2014  |  Permalink

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Bryce Andrews on Badluck Way

November 20, 2013

Bryce Andrews discusses his debut memoir, Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (forthcoming from Atria on January 7, 2014) in the below video. Badluck Way is the story of a man, a wolf, and what happens when circumstances lead to their collision.

 

 

Posted by waleslit on November 20, 2013  |  Permalink

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Advance Praise for Badluck Way by Bryce Andrews

May 13, 2013

Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West by Bryce Andrews (Atria Books, December 3, 2013) tells an archetypal American story: a young man leaves the city behind for life as a cowboy. But Bryce already knows his way around cattle; the ranch he now manages focuses on ecological conservation as well as conservation of a rare breed of cattle; and his story is not about a triumph over nature, but coming face to face with it when a pack of wolves start killing members of the herd he is responsible for. This debut has netted some wonderful advance praise:

 

“This book will make you have deep thoughts about our relationships with the land, nature, and animals.”

Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

“In Badluck Way, cattlehand and writer Bryce Andrews takes us on a fascinating ride through one of the most beautiful landscapes and thorniest issues of today’s American West – how can the newly reintroduced wolf and traditional cattle ranching coexist?  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

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. At core lies the old grudge between livestock protection and predator control. This fine memoir contains meticulous details of onerous ranch work--the unexpected violence of herding cows, the backbreak labor of building fence. Haunting and lyrical, this marvelous work belongs on everyone's bookshelf alongside other Western Classics.”

           —Craig Lesley, author of Winterkill and The Sky Fisherman

“One could find no better guide than Bryce Andrews for a journey along the shifting border between the wild and the tame; a daunting frontier filled with unsettling truths, blood and beauty. His wonderfully crafted prose is lean, yet rich in the telling details of seasons spent on a Montana ranch overseeing a shaky co-existence between cattle and wolves. Andrews is a keen-eyed ecologist, a skilled ranch hand and, best of all, a self-examining student of life with a young man’s inclination to push past fear and caution toward an embrace of risky, life-altering experience. In Badluck Way, Andrews shuns both cowboy romanticism and environmentalist sermonizing and illuminates the inescapable conflict between human economic imperatives and the compulsions of animal instinct. His book is a gripping tale of the West, raw and real.”

           —David Horsey, columnist and cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times

"Bryce Andrews’s Badluck Way is a powerful invocation of place and landscape narrated in a voice energetic, earnest, and wise. Year-round ranch work--tough, physical, and weathered--combined with a hard-earned regard and affection for animals--both livestock and wild creatures--thread together to renew our faith in the power of place, the value of work, and the ever-present need to interrogate our own lives and livelihoods."
           —Phil Condon, author of Montana Surround and Nine Ten Again

Badluck Way addresses clearly, concisely, and eloquently a year when individual belief, faith, and philosophy are tested and tempered daily by the physical, communal, and political. On Montana’s Sun Ranch, a wild and majestic intersection of grass, granite, and ice, wolves, elk, livestock, and humans coalesce to shape in sharp relief the vital and contentious issues facing our region and society. Andrews offers a remarkably rounded, informed, and yes, wise, perspective. Badluck Way is a powerful testament from a new writer with much to share.”
           —Robert Stubblefield, the University of Montana

 

 

Posted by waleslit on May 13, 2013  |  Permalink

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