- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company (June 15, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393531821
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393531824
Set in the western sagebrush steppe, Site Fidelity is a vivid, intimate, and deeply human exploration of life on the shifting terrain of our changing planet.
Firmly rooted in the modern American West, Site Fidelity follows women and families who feel the instinctual, inexplicable pull of a home they must work to protect from the effects of economic inequity and climate catastrophe. A seventy-four-year-old nun turns to eco-sabotage to stop a fracking project. A woman delivers her own baby in a Nevada ghost town. A young farmer hides her chicken flock from the government during a bird flu epidemic. An ornithologist returns home to care for her rancher father and gets caught up trying to protect a breeding group of endangered Gunnison sage grouse.
In lean, lyrical prose, Claire Boyles evokes the bleakness and beauty of our threatened western landscapes. Spanning the decades from the 1970s to a plausible near future, this knockout debut introduces unforgettable characters who must confront the challenges of caregiving and loss alongside the very practical impacts of fracking, water rights law, and other agricultural policies. Site Fidelity is a vivid, intimate, and deeply human exploration of life on the shifting terrain of our changing planet.
"[These] stories rise above on multiple levels: rich settings both integrated and essential, compelling characters navigating life’s most formative crossroads, the tapestry effect of skillfully woven elements, and emotional intelligence in breathtaking spades... Boyles both respects the intelligence of her reader and brings heart and soul to the page."
― Booklist (starred review)
"[Boyles's] settings exist as characters in their own right, carefully detailed, possessed of complex backstories, and imbued with definite, sometimes dangerous, agency... Site Fidelity bursts with pleasures―not just its lush attention to place but its frequent moments of humor...as well as the delightful frissons of surprise that shiver off the pages each time we catch a reference to a previous story."
― Amy Hassinger, Kenyon Review
"Boyles's debut collection bristles with intelligence and determination... The stories of women dealing with messes men left behind evoke the characters' grit and hope as well as a sense of place, colored in by their concern for the environment. Fans of Annie Proulx and John Sayles will love this."
― Publishers Weekly
"Set against a larger backdrop of energy debates, environmental disasters, and climate change, Boyles’ stories are skillfully layered explorations of the politics and power plays within families, workplaces, and communities. Yet this collection’s true mastery is in the rich and varied voices of the characters and in the small moments in which they reach for hope despite all that has crumbled around them. Deliberate and compelling. "
― Kirkus Reviews
"If we are to survive, even the next several decades, we need to feminize the myth of the American West…Claire Boyle’s stories do just that, the tenacious, unsinkable women who inhabit them no longer content to sit back and let powerful men of industry make us all extinct. For anyone who loves and grieves the West, who isn’t afraid to open their eyes and see her distress, these beautifully forged stories are as essential as water."
― Pam Houston, author of Deep Creek
"In Site Fidelity, Claire Boyles explores her characters’ love for the land with as much care as she evokes the knotty loyalties within families. These masterful short stories are wise, graceful, and as unsparingly beautiful as the sagebrush-scented landscapes they explore."
― Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of The Five Wounds
"Site Fidelity pulled me in from the first line and stayed with me long after I’d finished the last. This is one of those rare story collections that manages to be both unsparing and bighearted, brutal and beautiful, intimate and sweeping. Claire Boyles is a marvel, and this book is a triumph."
― Molly Antopol, author of The UnAmericans
"Attuned to harsh, western beauty and full of unforgettable, resilient characters, Site Fidelity is a bold and deeply affecting debut collection. Boyles writes with grace, style, and tremendous compassion about family, activism, and the undeniable impact (for better or worse) human beings have on the planet."
― Kimberly King Parsons, National Book Award–longlisted author of Black Light
"Site Fidelity is a masterful collection of stories set in the contemporary and complex West…Site fidelity, the tendency to return to a previously occupied location, seems rather fitting―because of its artistry and heft, this is a book I will return to again and again."
― Laura Pritchett, winner of the PEN USA Award for Fiction for Hell’s Bottom, Colorado
"Claire Boyles grabs the myth of the American West and reinvents it…Each of her harrowing stories introduces us to a remote landscape where the world has begun to crumble―sometimes literally―and yet the beauty of these places comes through, the hope of the people who live there comes through, due to Boyle’s patient, observant eye. A compassionate, raw, unforgettable collection."
― Leigh Newman, author of Still Points North
About the Author
Claire Boyles is a writer, teacher, and former sustainable farmer. She received her MFA in creative writing from Colorado State University. Her fiction has appeared in Boulevard and the Kenyon Review. She lives in Loveland, Colorado.