Reading: ‘If Not For This’ by Pete Fromm

Mar 5, 2015 | Events

Elk River Arts & Lectures will host Missoula author Pete Fromm for a reading from his new novel, If Not For This, on Thursday, April 30. Five-time recipient of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Literary Award, Fromm is a novelist and short story writer whose work centers on modern Western life.

In his latest book, Fromm tells the love story of river runners Maddy and Dalt. “They marry on the banks of the Buffalo Fork, sure they’ll live there the rest of their days. Forced by the economics of tourism to leave Wyoming, they start a new adventure, opening their own river business in Ashland, Oregon: Halfmoon Whitewater. They prosper there, leading rafting trips and guiding fishermen into the wilds of Mongolia and Russia. But when Maddy, laid low by dizzy spells, with a mono that isn’t quite mono, both discovers she is pregnant and is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they realize their adventure is just beginning.”

Two of Fromm’s books have been made into films: As Cool as I Am and Dry Rain. He’s on the faculty of Pacific University’s MFA writing program, and regularly lectures around the U.S. and Europe.

The Seattle Times calls If Not For This “a 10-hanky read,” while the Missoula Independent describes it as “a deeply intimate portrait of a heartless illness colliding with a big love.” The Lively Times elaborates: “Fromm, who has always had a knack for plumbing the interior lives of eccentric characters, places readers in the head and heart of a funny, brave woman as she navigates this terrifying run down a brutal river. It’s a story imbued with such honesty, courage and kindness – the qualities that turn ordinary people into heroes.”

Fromm will visit with Park High School students, then give a public reading that evening upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. at 7 p.m. The reading is free, and will be followed by a reception and signing. The events are co-sponsored by the Murray Hotel.

Elk River Arts & Lectures is a non-profit organization that seeks to bring writers to Livingston for free public readings, and also to provide opportunities for those writers to interact with local public school students. More information is available at


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