Shelley Read on Place, Home, and Being a Fifth-Generation Coloradan
The Author of Go As a River in Conversation with Mitchell Kaplan on The Literary Life
On this edition of The Literary Life, it’s my hope that listening to Shelly Read (Go As a River) talk about her life in Western Colorado and its influence on her engaging story of Victoria and how she perseveres over three decades, confronting love and disappointment and the harsh and beautiful reality of her life, will compel you to take a chance on this debut. You won’t be sorry. As Bonnie Garmus, the author of Lessons in Chemistry, writes: “Go As a River is completely unforgettable.”
My interview with Shelley was conducted live right before her event at Books and Books in Coral Gables, Florida.
From the episode:
Mitchell Kaplan: What I thought would be really cool is, because your book is so much about place that you needed to discover a little bit of my place. So I got to spend the day with you showing you a little bit about what this place is all about. And it couldn’t be further in spirit and in actuality.
Shelley Read: And temperature!
MK: And temperature than Crested Butte, which is where you’re from.
SR: Right, right. Well, and I loved being able to see into your lifelong connection to Miami and all the changes that you’ve seen and the stories that you told.
Because yeah, like you said, place is so important to me. Certainly it informs my writing, on a variety of levels, but I am a fifth-generation Coloradan and I have just always carried that inside of me in a sometimes kind of unarticulated way. It’s has informed everything I am and everything that I come from and the way in which I think of place and homeland.
I come from very tough people who did everything that they needed to do through a variety of challenges in order to make a home in a relatively wild and difficult place like Colorado in the, you know, in the mid 19th century all the way through until now. And so, yeah, I, I really value homeland and I love meeting someone who also has a deep sense of homeland as well.