book cover of Dreaming Northward
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Dreaming Northward

A novel by

From acclaimed author Craig Lancaster comes a story of family violence, dysfunction, and, perhaps, redemption, told across four timelines.

More than a decade into the 21st century, Nate Ray is down and in the final throes before he's out for good. He has burned through jobs and the goodwill of others, including his son, Brandon. When Nate's dad, Ronnie, summons him for a trip from Texas to Montana to bury Ronnie's sister, Nate's self-destruction is put on hold, but new and long-buried issues arise.

Forty years earlier, in Wyoming, Electra Ray plots an escape to an uncertain future for herself and her five-year-old son. A new friend awaits on the other end, three states away, but first Electra must break cleanly away from the bonds of a neglectful present.

In 2002, recent high school graduate Cherie Bowden is helping her mother settle her grandma's estate in Billings, Montana and is already deferring her own dreams. She discovers information that makes her question everything she thinks she knows about the people she comes from.

And in early 1950s Montana, Ronnie Ray, sixteen years old and estranged from the father he barely knows and on the run from an abusive home life, reaches faithfully toward a connection.

In his latest novel, Lancaster, who has been hailed as “one of Montana's most important writers,” goes deep into how history shapes and confines us and how hope sometimes stubbornly abides.

Genre: General Fiction

Praise for this book

"In Dreaming Northward, Craig Lancaster gives us the eternal mystery of family and the tangled webs across generations, with a cast of disparate yet wholly realized characters whose various struggles, questions, fault lines and quiet triumphs quickly become our own. Poignant, big-hearted, and, as always, beautifully rendered." - Malcolm Brooks

"There is something true and honest on every single page of this right hook of a novel. Craig Lancaster's Dreaming Northward follows the entwined lives of people who've never known anything but hard times and who've never known the word quit." - Giano Cromley

"Sheer reading pleasure; at turns funny, heartbreaking, suspenseful, and cathartic." - Jonathan Evison

"With Dreaming Northward, Lancaster taps his rich Texas roots of poverty, displacement, and tangled family troubles in the story of a man who road trips to Montana with nothing left to lose. ... Lancaster's exquisite attention to his characters' bad choices makes readers feel seen, chronicled by a tender biographer-even a little redeemed." - Carrie La Seur

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