Mountain City by Gregory Martin

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A loving but clear-eyed portrait in miniature of the vanishing rural West

At the outset of Gregory Martin's affecting memoir, only thirty-three people still live in Mountain City in remote northeastern Nevada; by the end of the book there are thirty-one, and none of them are children. The town's heyday is long past, its abandoned mines testimony to the cycle of promise, exploitation, abandonment, and attrition that has been the repeated story of the West.
Yet the comings and goings at Tremewan's, the general store Martin's family has run for more than forty years, make the town seem like a more vibrant place than many small cities. The store is a hub for a stoic but close-knit community that includes salty widows, Native Americans from a reservation nearby, and a number of Martin's deeply idiosyncratic relatives, who are descendants of the Basque sheepherders who settled in the region during the nineteenth century. It is also the lens through which Martin observes them as they persist in a difficult but rewarding existence. Without pity or regret, Martin celebrates the large and small dramas of their lives and their stubborn attachment to a place that seems likely to disappear in his lifetime.

About Gregory Martin

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Gregory Martin has an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona. He lives in Seattle.
Published June 2, 2000 by North Point Press. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Furthermore, the promising moments of Martin’s prose are marred horribly by his pedantic revelations: the astute reader does not need the author to assist with the mathematical observation that 33 people live in Mountain City, but that this number rises to 34 when he visits.

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Publishers Weekly

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Tucked away in the northern reaches of Nevada, the small boom-and-bust mining town of Mountain City may seem like a ghostly speck on a map, but for Martin it is the quickened heart of the universe.

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Entertainment Weekly

A- Originally posted Jul 14, 2000 Published in issue #549 Jul 14, 2000 Order article reprints

Jul 14 2000 | Read Full Review of Mountain City

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