Written with an abundance of humor and grace, Cast Away is a dual narrative that shines a brilliant light on a quirky and wonderful family as they experience displacement.
What would you do for your shot at the American Dream? Veronica Chavez and her great nephew Chuy immigrate from Mexico to the US, their journeys seventy years apart, each willing to do whatever it takes to build the life of their dreams. In 1922, Veronica’s romantic expectations are crushed by the dangers of living alone in a foreign country. Young and determined, she finds community in Utah’s desert railroad towns. Decades later, Chuy comes with his family to Salt Lake City, but his parents are soon sent back to Mexico. Out of place but together, Chuy and Veronica manage to connect across generations—hatching a plan to finally win it big on reality TV.
May 2024 | Fiction | 9781948814928 | 257 pp | $16.95
"I hope readers will get a glimpse into what it was like growing up in Utah outside of the mainstream in the 80s and 90s. Though I am not an immigrant like Chuy or Veronica, I grew in Utah non-LDS, Catholic, and outside Utah Culture—where you were the other. I think I tie to Chuy so closely in this book. I would also like readers to learn about our immigration policies, especially the Immigration Act of 1923 and the way in which immigration laws tear up families."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
KASE JOHNSTUN is an award-winning novelist, memoirist, and essayist. He is the author two novels, Let the Wild Grasses Grow (Torrey House Press, 2021) and Cast Away (forthcoming from Torrey House Press), the medical memoir Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis, and co-editor/author of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front. He is the current Manager at Utah Center for the Book.
ALSO BY THE AUTHOR
LET THE WILD GRASSES GROW: A Novel
Let the Wild Grasses Grow chronicles the lives of Della Chavez and John Cordova, childhood friends separated by a tragic accident, who find each other again during World War II after leading lives of struggle through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and, for John, abuse at the hands of his grandfather. This sweeping American love story celebrates the power of home landscapes, family heritage, and first love.
“Johnstun knows his terrain well, creating a palpable sense of the sky and soil, grasses and wildlife of the mesa—and the winds of change that swept through the nation for two tumultuous decades. A tender evocation of grief, hope, and dignity.”
PRAISE FOR CAST AWAY
“The most enduring aspect of Kase Johnstun’s work is his love—absolute, complete, and unflinching—for the characters he writes, even as they endure hardship and horror on their way to something greater. Cast Away, another fine novel from an author whose imagination and unflagging empathy bring about stories that stick to the ribs like the best meals.”
—CRAIG LANCASTER, two-time High Plains Book Award-winning novelist
“Kase Johnstun has written a story that entertains, touches, and endears. His lyrical style of writing and his attention to detail makes Cast Away a terrific read.”
—TANYA PARKER MILLS, The Book Bungalow owner
“Kase Johnstun navigates the complicated intersection of a broken immigration system and the ever-shifting American dream with a sharp wit and deep historical awareness that makes Cast Away impossible to put down. This novel is a continual feast for the senses and exploration of the heart.”
—PATRICK RAMSAY, Happy Magpie Book & Quill owner
“Cast Away explores our ideals of a better life, be they on the far side of a TV screen or a border, and the people and places sacrificed to get there. Kase Johnstun has written a delectable, humorous, heartwarming read not to be missed.”
—HEATHER MATEUS SAPPENFIELD, Reading the West Award-winning author of The River Between Hearts