Fiction
6:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Freedom, Anarchy, and Suspicion in Northwestern Montana

Smith Henderson talks about and reads from his debut novel, Fourth of July Creek.

About the book:

After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face-to-face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.

But as Pete’s own family spins out of control, Pearl’s activities spark the full-blown interest of the FBI, putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.

In this shattering and iconic American novel, Smith Henderson explores the complexities of freedom, community, grace, suspicion, and anarchy, brilliantly depicting our nation’s disquieting and violent contradictions. Fourth of July Creek is an unforgettable, unflinching debut.

The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.

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A review of Fourth of July Creek by Jonathan Miles for the New York Times

A review of Fourth of July Creek by Ron Charles for The Washington Post

Smith Henderson  is the recipient of the 2011 PEN Emerging Writer Award in fiction, and was the Phillip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University the same year. His short story, “Number Stations” won a Pushcart Prize and a finalist honors for the University of Texas Keene Prize, where he was a Michener Center for Writing Fellow. He currently works at the Wieden + Kennedy advertising agency, where he contributed to the Emmy-nominated “Halftime In America” Super Bowl Commercial. An accomplished screenwriter, he co-wrote “Dance With The One”, a 2010 South By Southwest Narrative Prize Finalist. His fiction has been anthologized and published in American Short Fiction, One Story, New Orleans Review, Makeout Creek, and Witness. Born and raised in Montana, he now lives in Portland, Oregon.