In 1980’s Oregon, Smokey is figuring out how to survive childhood with a young mom who is increasingly desperate in her search for love. As their mother's boyfriends come and go, Smokey aches for the comfort and safety their mother can never quite provide. When a dangerous new man moves into the house, Smokey seeks refuge in the nearby forests—finding comfort as they give themselves over to the strength and beauty of the natural world.
April 2024 | Fiction | 9781948814980 | 200 pp | $16.95
"Utterly gorgeous. I wish I had this book growing up, I wish my mother had this book, and her mother, and everyone who has ever had to turn their pain into meaning. This novel feels like breathing in the lushness of the forest, where all our past memories, both difficult and joyful, greet us animals in the night."
—KALI FAJARDO-ANSTINE, National Book Award Finalist and bestselling author of Woman of Light
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
CHARLIE J. STEPHENS is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race writer from the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised in Salem, Oregon, and currently living in Port Orford on the southern Oregon coast, they are the owner of Sea Wolf Books & Community Writing Center. Charlie's short fiction has appeared in Electric Literature, Best Small Fictions 2020, New World Writing, and Original Plumbing (Feminist Press).
PRAISE FOR A WOUNDED DEER LEAPS HIGHEST
“Charlie J. Stephens hands to the reader the heartbeat of the earth and the heartbeat of every living creature on it. A pulsing novel filled with so much love and tenderness.”
—MORGAN TALTY, National Bestselling author of Night of the Living Rez
“Stephens reveals a secret and unseen world, sensitized to the dark magic of poverty and neglect in woodlands, where being othered is at once the cage and the key.”
—JONATHAN T. BAILEY, award-winning author of When I Was Red Clay
“Charlie J. Stephens sustains the authorial courage to stick the landing: no simplistic plot saves, no looking away.”
—KARIN ANDERSON, author of What Falls Away
“With a light touch and in beautiful prose, Charlie J. Stephens creates a life and makes it matter.”
—CYNTHIA NEWBERRY MARTIN, author of Tidal Flats
“Smokey does whatever it takes to stay alive at a time and place in which the adults can’t be relied upon and plants and animals are the most sustaining guardians. A stunning debut.”
—PAUL LISICKY, author of Later: My Life at the Edge of the World
“A Wounded Deer Leaps Highest is a novel that shows the reader how the human heart expands and grows and learns to survive in a world outside of their control."
—KEVIN SAMPSELL, Powell’s Books
“At times moody and violent, other times tender and curious, A Wounded Deer Leaps Highest hits hard. It’s a story about anger, self-discovery, abuse, and refuge, but ultimately it’s about survival.”
—TOMAS MONIZ, author of All Friends Are Necessary
“Charlie J. Stephens has carved this story into my memory with their exquisite and shocking prose.”
—CHELSIA RICE, Montana Book Company
“Though slim, this novel packs an emotional wallop.”
—EMILY, Pegasus Books
“Prose that’s at once lyrical and precise, this is not a story that will be quickly forgotten.”
—ALVIN ORLOFF, Fabulosa Books
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