by Bev Magennis




March 2016 | Fiction | 978-1-937226-55-8  | 288 pp | $16.95 

Following a two-year prison stint, charming and wily Walker returns to his family’s New Mexico ranch, where his pious older sister Lee Ann is busy caring for their mother, raising two sons, and grappling with unethical workplace demands. As Walker’s reckless life careens into Lee Ann’s careful one, a drastic transformation of beliefs, identities, and relationships ensues. Alibi Creek explores the weight of sibling bonds, the healing power of place, and one woman’s rebirth in the wild and fragile landscape surrounding the small-town Southwest.



BEV MAGENNIS was born in Toronto, Canada, and immigrated to the United States in 1964. She received her MA in Art from the Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California. After a thirty-five-year career as an artist, she started writing, inspired by the land and people in the New Mexico wilderness where she lived for seventeen years. Magennis is an alumna of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop Summer Graduate Class and recipient of a Pen USA Emerging Voices Fellowship and a Norman Mailer Writers Colony Fiction Fellowship. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


“Magennis captures the grit and sinew of men and women raised in the hardscrabble West . . . as authentic as the sagebrush of the western landscape.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Last Midwife


“Magennis brings a kind of poetic excitement to the landscape from the very first page. She has a talent for crisp dialogue, tight narrative and vivid characterization.”


Alibi Creek is superb, spellbinding. . . . [Magennis’s] imagery and its foreshadowing impact echoes the cumulative practice of a well-honed artistic eye.”


“A saga set in the wilds of New Mexico. . . . Lee Ann is a heroine readers will root for.”

“Something of a southwestern gothic, drawing inspiration from the spare depictions of the West in the novels of Annie Proulx and its familial drama from the likes of Faulkner, O’Connor, and their like. . . . [Alibi Creek] excels in its open-eyed portrayals of a land largely left untamed.”


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“This resonant novel is told in a multitude of voices, forming a family saga that is both a revisionist history of Latter-day Saint settlement in the American West and a personal journey. In powerful prose, Anderson lets a chorus of voices tell their own often surprising, sometimes heartbreaking stories.”


“A narrative extravaganza that ponders the bristled roots of ancestry, unbroken by time or place, and the muddled truths and fallacies of family history that inform who we believe we are.
This masterwork flouts expectations.”
FOREWORD REVIEWS (starred review)

“Anderson’s fictionalized journey through time was prompted by her mother’s declining health, her son’s hospitalization, rampant wildfires plaguing the region, and a beloved country severely divided. A work of universal appeal.”
LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

“. . . bravely wrestles abandoned and underrepresented histories onto the page . . . a veritable index of abandoned history, almost like the second telling of what should have been included with the first.”


"Anderson explores the thorny entanglements of family, religion, and self, asking—with crisp, evocative prose—what portion of our lives do we direct, and what portion rests upon the 'dark hazards' of ancestral preordination?" 

JANA RICHMAN, author of The Ordinary Truth 

“A magnificent orchestra of voices—piercing and holy, naked and singing, ragged and wistful and queer—but each voice, in turn, fiercely intimate and finely wrought. A book for readers who refuse to be lulled or placated, who demand more heart, more exploration, more character. Within these pages, apostates are pardoned, saints brutally humanized, and whole families baptized by their blindness.”

NATE LEIDERBACH, author of Beasts You’ll Never See


“A warmhearted and chilling collection of true family stories that are fiction and fictional stories that are true. Anderson deploys voices from the American West as idiosyncratic as the Southern voices that make up Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. The book’s revelations and mysteries illuminate our own sketchy histories, the true stories we construct that are anything but whole but that help us survive. We all live in the Land of Dreams, which is to say in the land of our own and our ancestors’ stories.” 
SCOTT ABBOTT, author of Wild Rides and Wildflowers 


“Through language rich in metaphor, that is as rhythmic and melodic as a poem, Anderson reveals to her readers that family is more than genetics, home is more than place, and understanding is always fragmented. Before Us Like a Land of Dreams will find a solid place in the
canon of literature of the American West.”

LAURA HAMBLIN, author of The Eyes of a Flounder


"Anderson's keen prose shreds the myths of American history... Previously erased, queers populate the small towns as well as the liminal spaces between settlements in the West and Midwest. If you prefer your American history whitewashed for purity, this book isn't for you. If you prefer [to] be cognizant, for example, of the indigenous genocide committed by heroes of the West, you will find, in Anderson's vision, a stark and truthful reckoning with white legacies." 

MICHAEL WALSH, author of The Dirt Riddles


“Anderson is a ventriloquist, channeling the voices of a multitude of spokespersons whose DNA, defiances, differences, and determinations magnetize them to the American West. This glorious chorus is by turns poetic, rural, conversational, formal, an aria of stories united by their common descendant. Literary and true, this is the hardest—and best—kind of book, taking no prisoners, forgiving nothing, demanding all. Read it to confirm your membership, fierce and fragile, in the great imperfect human race.”
JULIE NICHOLS, author of Pigs When They Straddle the Air

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