HITTING SHELVES #35: Lions by Bonnie Nadzam


Lions by Bonnie Nadzam comes out today!

It’s the story of a “living ghost town” in the high plans of Colorado, where the members of the Walker family face a choice between sticking it out while their town crumbles or striking out for something better. Nadzam wrote the acclaimed novel Lamb and co-authored the inventive short story collection Love in the Anthropocene. With Lions, she has written a clear-eyed and beautiful exploration of family loyalty and shattered dreams.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Lions?

As far as I can tell, July 5 will be an ordinary day of ordinary tasks, though in a new place—I’ll be just settling into a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, with no internet, no TV, a generator, a well, and spotty cell phone service. Our new home. So there’ll be tea and honey among boxes, if I can find a mug. And tea. And honey. And a pan. Beyond that I have no idea what the day will bring and I have no plans to celebrate. I know there will be plenty of child-rearing activities, and a little typing. There won’t really be a schedule or routine yet. I’ll want to get stuff out of boxes. I’m looking forward to watching our giant dogs run free and clear, no leashes, woods and hills. I’ll probably stand outside and look out at how green everything is and feel so happy about that. I’ll probably want to put up a birdfeeder or two right away before the summer gets any further along.

Bonnie Nadzam
Bonnie Nadzam

I’ll feel some apprehension, of course, about the book that’s launching, but not nearly as much as the apprehension regarding the book that is not yet finished. I’ll probably go through that dance in my head of: what if people hate Lions?… it doesn’t matter if people hate it… it came out and it’s finished, that’s all over now… nice enough if people read it, let alone like it… you know, the worried voice followed by another voice trying to assuage the worry. Eventually I’ll dispense with both and start doing what needs doing: dishes or sweeping or reading or work. I might pick up the book and open it up and see if it seems good or if it makes me wince. There’s never any telling—one day a sentence seems good, the next day, it makes me wince. But I won’t have much time for this kind of thing. I feel more than ever how short life is and how fast it’s going, how strange it is that we’re even here, whatever “we” are and wherever “here” is. Every time I think back to the day or week or month before, it seems like I must have been sleepwalking, like I was only dimly aware of myself or the world—and I hope I am not sleepwalking today, but I probably am.

Around 4 or 5 I’ll start thinking of dinner. I love cooking for people I love. Even if it’s just chopping up a salad, I’ll try to make it beautiful. I might put some white wine in the refrigerator. From 6 to 8 or so will be that golden time when everyone is home and it’s still light outside. In the evening I’ll try to work again. We’ll all be in bed by nine-thirty or ten.

Get the book here.

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