Missoula author David Allan Cates will read from his new novel, Tom Connor’s Gift, at Elk River Books on Tuesday, November 18 at 7 p.m. In this latest offering from Bangtail Press, Cates tracks a winter in the life of a doctor who recently lost her husband to cancer, and retreats to a cabin along the Rocky Mountain Front to regain a semblance of her self.
“She seeks understanding from an unexpected source: a cache of letters written by an old boyfriend, Tom Connor. The letters, which span fourteen years, are set in relief against the backdrop of Janine’s life. Tom’s letters become a touchstone for the life she lived, ultimately becoming the pathway by which her grief—palpable, wise and ecstatic in Cates’ precise and lyrical prose—might begin to dissipate.”
Reviewers praise the book for Cates’ prose, and for his deftly limned portrait of grief and anger. Bryan Di Salvatore, writing in the Missoulian, says “Sadness and madness, grief and delirium. Tom Connor’s Gift delivers us precious monsters: our first true love and our true lasting love. Coursing between anecdote and musing, this is a novel only grownups can understand. It is smart and ecstatic and will break your goddamn heart.”
Cates, who has worked as a fishing guide and director of Missoula Medical Aid (a group that provides public health and medical care in Honduras), has written four other award-winning novels: Hunger in America, a New York Times Notable Book; X Out of Wonderland and Freeman Walker were both Montana Honor Books; and Ben Armstrong’s Strange Trip Home, gold medal winner in fiction for the 2013 Independent Book Publishers Award.
His reading will take place upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. It is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book signing and reception. For more information, call 333-2330.