Over the course of two years, Rowland traveled to every county in Montana, interviewing people about what’s happening around the state. He read nearly 100 books about the region, and the result is a combination travelogue, memoir, and historical account of what makes Montana the unique place that it has become.
Fifty-Six Counties, a book I read with pleasure and admiration, is a great companion for those who already love Montana and for those anxious to get a real sense of the place without the salesmanship.”
— Tom McGuane, author of The Cadence of Grass and Gallatin Canyon
Russell Rowland’s first novel, In Open Spaces (Harpercollins 2002) received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, was called ‘a novel of muted elegance’ by the New York Times, and was named as one of the Best of the West for 2002 by the Salt Lake City Tribune. It also made the San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list. The book covers almost forty years in the life of the Arbuckles, a homestead family in Southeastern Montana. Blake Arbuckle, third son of George and Catherine narrates this sprawling story as his family deals with two world wars, the depression, and conflict between family members to try and survive in one of the most isolated regions of America.
High and Inside (Bangtail Press 2013) was also named a finalist for the High Plains Book Award, the winner of which will be announced at the High Plains Book Festival in October. This is the story of Pete Hurley, a former pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Hurley moves to Bozeman, Montana in hopes of putting some painful incidents from his past behind him, including a pitch that ended his career and and accident that left a woman he loved permanently paralyzed. But Pete’s battle with alcohol follows him to Bozeman, forcing him to face up to the issues he has tried for years to avoid.
The sequel to Rowland’s first novel, The Watershed Years (Riverbend 2007), was named a finalist for the High Plains Book Award. The Watershed Years picks up the story of the Arbuckle family at a time when they are experiencing unprecedented abundance. Rather than struggling to survive, the success of the ranch causes a whole new set of issues triggered by greed and ambition. When the patriarch of the ranch, George Arbuckle, dies under mysterious circumstances, narrator Blake and his wife Rita become determined to find out what happened to his father. This book is available only through the author, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
West of 98: Living and Writing the New American West is an anthology that Russell co-edited with Lynn Stegner. For this collection, they asked over sixty writers to contribute essays or poetry that expressed their experience growing up in the West. They were also asked to talk about how they see the Western identity changing over time. The collection includes writers like Larry McMurtry, Louise Erdrich, Ursula LeGuin, Barry Lopez, and Jim Harrison.
© 2017 Russell Rowland. All Rights Reserved.