"In the novel’s closely observed daily round of ranch work — fixing fences, feeding cows, inoculating and branding the new calf crop — the lives and concerns of these rural folks and their ties to the land are slowly, inevitably revealed to us. The landscape of their world is both harsh and beautiful. “Brown melt-water flows fast through the irrigation ditch, coming down off Mount Baldy. The level might hold off a drought if there is one this summer. From this vantage, the fields are lush with the leavings of winter. The alfalfa is coming in green. A new calf runs and bucks; in just days on earth, its balance is already perfect.” “Kickdown,” in its moving evocation of a place and a people and a way of life at a pivotal point in our history, finds that same nearly perfect balance."—The Washington Post
"Rebecca Clarren's book is deep, true, achingly pure, as stripped of glamour and pretense as the beautiful desolation it describes. With an unflinching eye for the unsettling political and environmental issues of our time, Clarren captures perfectly the heartland of our country and the hearts of those whose old answers have suddenly failed them--they are all strangers to themselves, full of wonder and worry, wild impulses, inarticulate feelings. Kickdown is what life sounds like when we give up the search for who we thought we were supposed to be, and begin the search for our own true humanity."—Karen Fisher, author of A Sudden Country, Finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award
“Exquisitely written, Rebecca Clarren’s novel reminds you of the power of fiction — the way it can engage with contemporary politics, and still remain, at its heart, an imaginative art form. The prose is beautiful; the ideas are unflinching; the narrative throughline will propel you forward unstoppably. Clarren’s great talent, though, is engagement with character. You care about these people and, through caring, you are transformed. A brilliant book.”—Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Knievel Days and Dog, Gone
"Kickdown is an important, urgent novel. It's about ecological destruction, but it's also about resistance, compassion, and love. Rebecca Clarren vividly depicts the beauty and the toughness of the American West in this timely, extraordinary debut." —Carter Sickels, author of The Evening Hour, winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award and a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
Award-winning journalist Rebecca Clarren has been writing about the rural West for nearly twenty years. Her journalism, for which she has won the Hillman Prize and an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship, has appeared in such magazines as MotherJones, High Country News, The Nation and Salon.com. Kickdown, shortlisted for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, is her first novel. She lives in Portland, Oregon. with her husband and two young sons.