Little Century by Anna Keesey
A Novel

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As “Little Century,” spurred on by dispossession and greed, hurtles toward its conclusion, Esther Chambers arrives at a realization that could serve as the thesis of Keesey’s novel...
-NY Times

Synopsis

In the tradition of such classics as My Ántonia and There Will Be Blood, Anna Keesey's Little Century is a resonant and moving debut novel by a writer of confident gifts.

Orphaned after the death of her mother, eighteen-year-old Esther Chambers heads west in search of her only living relative. In the lawless frontier town of Century, Oregon, she's met by her distant cousin, a laconic cattle rancher named Ferris Pickett. Pick leads her to a tiny cabin by a small lake called Half-a-Mind, and there she begins her new life as a homesteader. If she can hold out for five years, the land will join Pick's already impressive spread.

But Esther discovers that this town on the edge of civilization is in the midst of a range war. There's plenty of land, but somehow it is not enough for the ranchers—it's cattle against sheep, with water at a premium. In this charged climate, small incidents of violence swiftly escalate, and Esther finds her sympathies divided between her cousin and a sheepherder named Ben Cruff, a sworn enemy of the cattle ranchers. As her feelings for Ben and for her land grow, she begins to see she can't be loyal to both.

Little Century maps our country's cutthroat legacy of dispossession and greed, even as it celebrates the ecstatic visions of what America could become.

 

About Anna Keesey

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Anna Keesey is a graduate of Stanford University and of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and has held residencies at MacDowell, Bread Loaf, Yaddo, and Provincetown. Keesey teaches English and creative writing at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.
 
Published June 5, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 334 pages
Genres: History, Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Jonathan Evison on Jun 29 2012

As “Little Century,” spurred on by dispossession and greed, hurtles toward its conclusion, Esther Chambers arrives at a realization that could serve as the thesis of Keesey’s novel...

Read Full Review of Little Century: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

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