MTPR

Clovis: An Environmental Novel

Dec 20, 2017

Clovis

"Clovis is a lyrical tale set in the New West where the interests of oil companies clash with the need to preserve and record the artifacts left by long gone inhabitants of the land. In this novel, Hanna and her archeological compatriots are hired by CanAm Oil Company to assess the impact of an oil line on historical native sites. The complex relationships between her and her co-workers fascinate. The lush descriptions of the natural beauty she encounters are seductive. This is truly a wonderful look into the unique personality of people who choose to make a living doing field work. They are a breed apart. An excellent read that keeps you engaged from the beginning.”    —Big Sky Independent Press  

About the Book:

In the opening pages of Clovis, Hanna traverses an ancient glacial moraine at the edge of an American desert, to revisit the obsidian Clovis point (Spear point) that she had found and hidden on a previous archeological survey.  She feels a fundamental attraction to the point, and as she contemplates it she can envision the ancient race that left it for her there on the vast sage steppes at the foot of the Rockies.

Hanna lives briefly out of a hotel while she completes an archeological survey on the multi-state, CanAm gas line.  It is here that Hanna reunites with Tim, Hugh, Dog, Gina, and Paul.  While running in the desert alone, two men attempt to rape her.  She escapes by dousing them with mace and flattens the tires of their truck.

The attempted rape forces her to go to the northern camp where she finds chaos and filth.   The ever-faithful Paul is there and he helps her through the reorganization of the camp.  It is the damaged and angelic Paul whom she dotes over.  It is Paul who tells her the unspoken histories of America.  It is Paul who steals the most controversial artifact in North America.

Although Hanna harbors a deep affection for Paul, she gravitates towards Tim in the field camps, the deserts, and to climb challenging routes in the mountains.  Her liaison with Tim forces her to face the contradictions of her life: She is a vegetarian surrounded by carnivores.  She is a marginalized environmental regulator against a Goliath of a gas industry.  She is a transcendentalist who can’t catch the wave of nothingness.  She is the guardian of Paul, who she loses in the mountains.  And finally, Hanna is a lesbian, but she cannot deny that she also loves Tim.

After Paul’s death in the mountains, Hanna comes unhinged.  Then CanAm belligerently bulldozes a culturally rich valley, and Dog retaliates by burning two of their vehicles.  Hanna senses the impotence of the act and realizes that all the work they do simply facilitates the power of such companies.  She leaves and she drifts towards the magnetism the mountains where she runs a mountain route that challenges her to the very limits of her endurance. On her rest day, she joins a small party for dinner and is assaulted by a man from a petroleum company and she stabs him.  This sends her head long back to the desert to answer the sirens’ song of the Clovis.  She goes out to desert for lack of any other plan and climbs the distant desert buttes that seem to hold her in their orbit.  It is here, in the vacuum of a high desert night, during a long, nightmarish epiphany that the cicadas sing out their perspective of her tribulations.

Clovis is set to be released on January 12, 2018 by Harvard Square Editions.

Jack Clinton

About the Author:

Jack Clinton lives in Red Lodge, Montana and works as a Spanish teacher.  Jack spent most of his adult life living in Wyoming, working as kitchen help, laborer, carpenter, and mountain guide. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degree in Spanish at the University of Wyoming, in Laramie, Wyoming.  During these University years, Jack started writing freelance, covering environmental news.  His work regularly appeared in the Caspar Star Tribune, and in diverse periodicals such as High Country News, Western Horseman, E-magazine, Rock and Ice, and Climbing. During his years at the University, he also won the Neltje Blanchan award for fiction.

After a long hiatus from writing to engage in raising his daughter, Emma, he has returned to writing and produced a new novel.  Clovis, an environmental novel, is a fictional composite of many of the stories and people who filled those Wyoming decades.