Malheur August by Nancy Judd Minor

At some point, most adults begin to wonder about the parents who raised them.   How did they come to marry or not-marry one another?  How did they handle their own parents' expectations?  How did they deal with heartbreak?  speak of subjects they'd been told were unspeakable? gain or fail to gain wisdom?

Nancy Judd Minor's Malheur August  pulls readers into the world of one family in whom such questions burn.  It opens in 1971 in Vale, a small Oregon community where Clete and Oleta Algood have raised bitterness to such an art form that their adult children rarely visit.  It follows their daughters, Jean and Mae, as they try to understand what happened to their parents, why they stopped being happy, why they stay together.  Answers come slowly, in pieces, from the friends and neighbors Oleta and Clete grew up with back in the 1930s and '40s.  And the answers are utterly convincing.  Read this book and you will grow in wisdom.  

Nancy Minor is a lifelong Oregonian, raised in Vale near the Malheur River--a river whose name means "Misfortune."  She knows the landscape, the alkaline fields and the fishing spots, the places where teens go to break the rules, the dangerous parts of the river.  And she knows the people--the lonely child, the widow, the hired hand, the woman who loves women, the truly gentle man.       

For an unusually honest profile of the author, please click on this link and read the short, grand-prize-winning essay which our author's teenaged granddaughter wrote about her: .  

Malheur August will be available this August, 2018.