For nearly thirty years, Tana McCabe has been trapped in suspended animation, just like the beetle encased in resin she wears around her neck. But one warm, summer night, on a remote stretch of highway in Montana, Tana unexpectedly breaks free from the expectations draped over her by her swiftly unraveling family and conservative hometown politics. Tana, a white woman, falls in love with Colette Little Crow. Her coming out as a late-blooming Gay woman is messy, painful, and full of fumbles only surpassed by those of her evolving family.
Set on the slopes of the continental divide, in a place the Blackfeet call the backbone of the world, Where Rivers Change Direction is the awakening story of a woman who cannot remain bound to one place or identity. Tana’s love with Collette ultimately cleaves her heart in two and she must decide whether to try to piece it all back together, or cross geographic and cultural divides to start over. Where Rivers Change Direction explores the meaning of home, the consequence of our choices, and the complicated influences – some centuries old – that pull us in one direction or another.
About the Author
L. Bundrock is a third generation Montana writer. She is the granddaughter of a prolific non-fiction essayist and daughter of an award-winning poet. Much of her work lives in the muddy ground between poetry and prose. Raised by a family of storytellers and outdoor enthusiasts, she was steeped in tales of untamed places, grizzly bear encounters, and whitewater torrents. She has a degree in creative writing from The Evergreen State College and her work has been published in Slightly West literary magazine. She worked at an HIV service organization for twenty-four years, where she practiced saying goodbye until she only had one left, her own. Her professional work in HIV prevention and LGBTQ leadership development inexorably furthered her artistic vision with daily lessons in the transformative power of language, art, and connection. When not at her desk writing, she likes to de-clutter, to clear out space for new ideas and curate adventures for family and friends. L. lives in Tacoma, Washington.
Praise for Where Rivers Change Direction
“Based on my own lived experience, Bundrock’s eloquent portrayal of a rural upbringing that honors the complexity woven into a rustic landscape between native and non-native cultures captivated me throughout. Bundrock’s incredible ability to spin the tale with romanticism and brutal honesty is unparalleled, and it makes this book so exquisitely unique.” — Lisa Fruichantie, community organizer, activist and member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
“Bundrock takes the sweet nostalgia of rural upbringing and throws in queer awakening, our favorite subject. But it’s also these two aspects that butt heads in this debut novel. What do you do if the town you love doesn’t love you back? The result is an intimate tale of self-discovery, family drama, and chocolate bears.” — Jonah Barrett, author of Moss Covered Claws and creator of Wordsmiths
“It’s been a long time since I got up early and stayed up late to finish a book. I couldn’t put this book down. Bundrock’s sense of place and rich characters drew this small town girl right into the compelling, beautiful truths and inability to hide secrets that small towns offer. The author traces the heartbreak, fear, and unquestioning joy of coming out. This book affirms the truth that when queer people live their truth and embrace their whole identity, both they and the community they live in become whole.” — Laurie Jinkins, LGBTQ activist, Washington State Speaker of the House, and Good Troublemaker.
“A book to stay up all night reading. Moving, bittersweet, and joyful. Spanning past, present, and future with ancestors and mountains as leading characters. This is a coming of age story for the rest of us.” — Seth Kirby, social justice advocate and community builder
“I cherish every fresh voice I encounter, and Where Rivers Change Direction introduced me to a writer so vivid and particular that I was occasionally startled. I returned to particular lines repeatedly, captured by Bundrock’s almost poetic language, enchanted by a wholly new vision of the West. This is a landscape I am familiar with, but this is never regional writing—from page one, I was thrilled as the map I know was torn to pieces. Bundrock’s West seemed brand new, a universe created by an author with self-assurance and the skills to make me forget I was reading fiction. When I finished the book, I was grateful—this is the story all outsiders in small towns and vast landscapes need so badly. For that reason, this book is also an important one, as Bundrock beautifully captures the long and rugged journey toward self-discovery. Bundrock’s greatest gift is her wisdom, a sharp and startling insight into the real weight of life, and the things we do to escape it. To quote from the book, “With enough force, gravity can overcome friction.” Trust in the physics of Bundrock’s novel, and jump—with a book so fully realized and an author so fearless, this is a delicious surrender. When you land, you will be changed.” — Richard Fifield, author of The Flood Girls and The Small Crimes Of Tiffany Templeton, and editor of We Leave The Flowers Where They Are.