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by Kase Johnstun


“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.”

“Johnstun weaves together a lyrical love story . . . the characters are connected by a deep-rooted bond to the land and their shared Mexican heritage. Johnstun’s rich writing style pays homage to what it means to be a westerner, and to the intensity of true love.”

"Steeped in heart-wrenching historical detail, Johnstun’s Colorado landscape evokes a sense of place and home so richly that you can feel that scorching sun, see those waving fields, taste that Dustbowl dirt. A timeless and diverse western Americana love story that will make you yearn for sunsets, hot chiles, tall grasses, and home.”
—LEAH ANGSTMAN, author of Out Front the Following Sea

“A multilayered, emotional novel that weaves history and family stories, from the Dust Bowl to World War II, seen through Hispanic eyes. Though it contains vivid depictions of the hardships and despair of the times, the power of hope, love, and community shines through these pages. Della and John are well-drawn characters that, by the end of the book, will feel like friends.”
—TERESA DOVALPAGE, author of Queen of Bones


“Kase Johnstun’s Let the Wild Grasses Grow tells the story of two Americans overcoming loss and prejudice, two Americans who persevere, who are bound together by love, by ambition, by intelligence and desire. This is a love story for people who love the earth, the dirt, the sky, and destiny written in the stars.”
—DANIEL A. HOYT, author of This Book Is Not for You

“In Johnstun’s Let the Wild Grasses Grow, Colorado has a successor to Kent Haruf. This is a beautiful and expansive novel about two Hispanic families, their struggle to survive the Depression and racism, and their struggle to find love and their place in the world during World War II. A propulsive read.”
—SEAN PRENTISS, author of Finding Abbey


Unflinching and beautiful, Johnstun's Let the Wild Grasses Grow is easy to fall into and hard to shake. It is at once lyrical and cinematic, an unexpected combination that perfectly sculpts the paradoxes of growing up and falling deeply in love in a country that both despises and needs you. The characters are sharp and witty, tough and warm, and so well drawn that I already know I will reread this book over and over, just to fall in love with them again, to watch them grow again, to mourn their losses, and to root for their triumphs. Do not miss it!”
—LEIGH CAMACHO ROURKS, author of Moon Trees and Other Orphans


“A beautifully written narrative that speaks about universal issues we are still defining and working on—like family, race, immigration, and love. The conflicts that are overcome in this book, though in an earlier time period, can give us hope, and let us know that we can get through the problems of today.”
—SEAN DAVIS, author of The Wax Bullet War


October 2021| Fiction | $17.95 | 978-1-948814-51-5| Trade Paper | 299 pp 

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.


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KASE JOHNSTUN lives and writes in Ogden, Utah. Author of Let the Wild Grasses Grow, Beyond the Grip of Craniosynostosis and coeditor of Utah Reflections: Stories from the Wasatch Front, he teaches at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, the Graduate School in Creative Writing for Southern New Hampshire University, Barton Community College, and Weber State University. His essay collection Tortillas for Honkies was a finalist for the Autumn House Press Nonfiction Award, and his work has been published in Label Me Latino/a, Creative Nonfiction, The Watershed Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MA in Creative Writing and Literature from Kansas State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University. You can find him running on the trails of the Rocky Mountains along the face of the Wasatch Front.

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