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by Braden Hepner

Working a dying trade in a dead town, dairy farmer Jack Selvedge finds his life and existence stagnant. When Rebekah Rainsford moves back to town on the run from her father, her dark history consumes him. It soon becomes clear why girls like her don’t stay in towns like these, as elements of humanity in ruin culminate in tragedy. A deeply written and deeply felt story of love, depravity, and shattered ideals, Pale Harvest examines the loss of beauty, purity, and simplicity within the mindset of the rural American West.


BRADEN HEPNER graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2009 and currently lives in Idaho with his wife and son. This is his first novel. 

Author Website

September 2014 | Fiction | 978-1-937226-39-8 | 366 pp | $16.95 

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Cover photo by  Braden Hepner


“Hepner’s stunning debut novel is an homage to the barren landscape of the American West . . . a meditation on the nature of hope and self-determination, a sweeping elegy to a dying town and to the bond between blood and earth.”
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)


“Pale Harvest is a dark novel by a deft storyteller.”


“[A]n unforgettable literary blast. . . . Hepner’s characters are among the most compelling to be experienced in contemporary fiction. . . . Readers will be moved by the author’s poetic rendition of the land’s unique topography that inflames, confounds, and rarely satisfies one’s personal hunger for carving out a meaningful and happy life.”


“Hepner has put in the daily work with this fine novel, its keen words and sentences furrowed like lines eye-measured and trued on a far dying tree in the distance across the alkaline fields of northern Utah.”

“A deeply moving and intellectually profound novel built on the iconic myth of the American West. Think McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show or Horseman, Pass By. . . . Hepner draws a narrative exploring the existential angst smoldering in the rural West as family farmers who hold stewardship of the land confront social and economic conditions beyond their control. A bravura debut.”
KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

“Dazzlingly laconic, making poetry of the sheer sweat and physicality of everyday life in a worn–out landscape.”
LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)


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