New novel coming May 2019 from Algonquin Books
Set in the hardscrabble landscape of early 1900s Oklahoma, but timeless in its sensibility, Prairie Fever traces the dynamic between two sisters: the pragmatic Lorena and the chimerical Elise. Their connection to each other supersedes all else, until the arrival of a schoolteacher sunders the sisters’ relationship as they both begin to fall for him. With poetic intensity and the deadpan humor of Paulette Jiles and Charles Portis, Parker reminds us of how our choices are often driven by our passions. Expansive and intimate, Prairie Fever tells the story of characters tested as much by life on the prairie as they are by their own churning hearts.
“Let me just say that Prairie Fever—concerning the lives of the Stewart sisters of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, in the early years of the twentieth century—is the most beautiful novel I have read in quite some time. Taking a cue from the irrepressibly inventive younger sister, Elise, I soon began reading it aloud to someone I love, and the novel more than rewards such a shared experience. The language is that graceful and original, the events and characters (horses included) that spellbinding and funny and moving; and always the melancholy beauty and mysterious power of the open prairie shine through. To borrow a phrase from Mr. McQueen—first encountered as a young teacher in a one-room schoolhouse—one comes away from the novel with a keener sense of 'how one ought to go about living one’s life.'” —Tom Drury, author of Pacific
“What a terrific book this is, wonderful and strange . . . a whole family acting out what can and can’t be forgotten, against the backdrops of prairie and range—characters so magnificently and sometimes comically stubborn I really couldn’t put the book down. And what other novel has a character writing letters to a dead horse? I was completely taken by this book.” —Joan Silber, author of Improvement