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Wildfire: A Novel


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About the Author

Mary Pauline Lowry has worked as a forest firefighter on the Pike Hotshot Crew, as a construction worker, and as an advocate in the movement to end violence against women. A native of Austin, she has an MA in English from the University of Texas. She has written essays for The New York Times Magazine, xoJane, and the Huffington Post.


"I love this book. With stunning language and deep insight, Lowry has written a novel that makes you feel, with nearly every sentence, that something big is at stake. It's been a damn long time since a novel knocked me around and made me care this way. The Hotshots' world is exotic and specialized and the entry she offers is stunning and rare. But it is the heart of this book you will most want to know. Here is an original and special voice." Anthony Swofford, New York Times bestselling author of Jarhead

"Wildfire is ultimately about belonging and redemption, teamwork and trust, but it's also a love story, an adventure story, a portrait of testosterone, and a novel only a former hotshot could write." Carmel

"Lowry's tale of fighting fast-moving fires in dry forests is compelling, rich in detail and action." Dallas Morning News

"Metaphoric, educational, and fun as hell to read." Austin Chronicle

"This is a fine book, which gives vivid access into the extraordinary, almost cultish, world of wildland firefighters." Joy Williams, author of The Quick and the Dead

"Young writers aren't supposed to understand as much as the prescient Mary Lowry. In Wildfire, she illuminates the cycle of life with a racing, insightful story, while the forested Rocky Mountains jump to flame around her characters. Firefighters are mostly male, and Lowry uses their camaraderie and preconceived notions as a velvety rope with which to hang their outdated thinking. But this is really just a story about standing up to great forest fires and taking risks and you'll feel the sweet heat of that adventure, too." James C. Moore, New York Times bestselling author of Bush's Brain

"Forget werewolves, vampires, and fantasy. Here's a true-life adventure lived by a woman who gave up the security of her college life in Texas and entered the wild and woolly world of the Hotshot firefighter. As a struggling rookie on the Pike Inter-Agency Hotshot Crew, Julie encounters forces that challenge the very essence of who she thinks she is. Out of the ashes of one long, hot summer comes a story of fighting wildfire from Colorado to Idaho to Southern California, all of it told by a woman, from the inside the experience, as she lived it herself. A tribute to the hard work and courage of Hotshots everywhere." Murry A. Taylor, author of Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire

"Mary Pauline Lowry's incendiary Wildfire illustrates that women can both fight fire and write fiction about the American West on par with men. Bold, funny, iconoclastic, and devastating. A fantastic read!" Sarah Bird, author of The Gap Year and The Flamenco Academy

"Wildfire will not leave you unscathed. This brave and big-hearted novel about a young woman working on a foul-mouthed all-male forest-fire crew in the Rockies takes the reader into a world none of us have seen and makes it indelibly real and totally gripping. I know nothing quite like it." James Magnuson, author of Famous Writers I Have Known

"Mary Lowry's Wildfire is absolutely riveting. A vivid, evocative, and emotionally complex journey through a dangerous and beautiful world." Lou Berney, Pushcart Prize winning author of Gutshot Straight and The Road to Bobby Joe and Other Stories

"Wildfire is the funniest, saddest, most harrowing, most exuberant novel I've read in years. Mary Lowry writes with an insider's precision about the raucous camaraderie and dangerous work of wildland firefighting, but also with an artist's insight into a lonely young woman's determination to test herself, to belong to something, and to forge a life that matters." Stephen Harrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Gates of the Alamo

"A riveting tale of adventure, courage and a young woman's search for meaning. Not to mention a fascinating guide to the techniques and culture of fighting wildfires. Brilliant!" HW Brands, New York Times bestselling author of The First American and Traitor to His Class

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