Stony Mesa Sagas
by Chip Ward
November 2017 |Fiction | 978-1-937226-85-5 | 395 pp | $17.95
CHIP WARD, after living for four years in wilderness, moved to the edge of Utah’s West Desert, an environmental sacrifice zone, where he organized and led several campaigns to make polluters accountable. He co-founded HEAL Utah and served on the board of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance for several years. Starting as a bookmobile librarian, Ward ended his library career as the Assistant Director of the Salt Lake City Public Library. His books Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope’s Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land, describe his political adventures. He is a regular contributor to Tomdispatch.com and his essays on conservation have appeared widely across the web. An essay about homelessness, “How the Public Library Became the Heartbreak Hotel,” is the inspiration for the movie The Public now in production. As a spokesperson for environmental causes, he has been interviewed by CBS, CNN, NPR, the BBC, and more. This is his first novel. He lives in Torrey, Utah.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pursued by a hired killer after they protested at a mining site gate, Luna Waxwing and Hip Hop Hopi seek refuge in the remote Southwest village of Stony Mesa where they start over as micro-farming restaurateurs with a dangerous secret. With their rodeo princess partner Kayla and a colorful cast of unlikely allies, they struggle to find common ground between coyote-killing cowboys and bird-watching retirees.
Along the way they explore the nature of the energetic body, how the sins of the past echo into the present, and how to live lightly but joyously on the land. Can Luna and Hoppy keep their secret? Did Mayor Dooley strangle his rich nemesis? Will Bunny Cleaver’s patriarchal prophecies come true? And what’s the deal with that mystical coyote? Stony Mesa Sagas is a thought provoking and laugh-out-loud romp through the cultural conflicts of today’s American West.
PRAISE FOR STONY MESA SAGAS
"A cast of entertaining characters, slowly revealed mysteries, and plot twists produce an immersive and powerful tale of finding beauty in a harsh landscape."
"[Ward's] his own particular phenomenon, the funniest thing to happen to Utah, and one of the most acute environmental thinkers of our time. Now, good people, go eat up this novel and enjoy everybite, and every biting observation. Buckle your spurs; you’re in for a wild ride."
—REBECCA SOLNIT, author of The Mother of All Questions
"Don't be fooled. Stony Mesa Sagas—its characters and the situations in which they find themselves is hilarious. But like the dog eating the bacon hiding the bitter pill, readers will likely awake to key western issues of now."
—BROOKE WILLIAMS, author of Open Midnight: Where Ancestors and Wilderness Meets
"Chip Ward's Stony Mesa is a place you want to hang your hat and settle into. In Mr. Ward's western landscape, his characters are not simply content to sit and watch time pass. The heroes of his Stony Mesa are environmental activists, their dialogue as entertaining as it is inspiring."
“A smart and humorous take on national topics of interest…uses the American Southwest and its inhabitants to tell a beautiful story about a place, people, and time.”
— FOREWORD REVIEWS
“Ward creates over-the-top characters, outrageous plots, and extraordinary resolutions to send a message: respect the environment and connect with one another.”
— LIBRARY JOURNAL
Cover art by Patricia Priebe-Swanson