Out now from Unsolicited Press
Great Divide is a novel about memory, the power of the past to shape and subsume the present, and the pressing, terrible need to escape the drowning force of history. The reader inhabits the conflicted and mercurial interior of Jane, a young woman fleeing from years of abuse in her Oregon seacoast home to an uncertain freedom with her boyfriend in the landlocked new world of the Kansas plains. As Jane travels, her progress is threatened by nostalgia and attachment, responsibility and ambivalence, and, finally, by a massive flood which threatens to overwhelm both her past and her future. Great Divide is a novel precariously afloat atop a sea of time, at once alluring and threatening, beckoning us to dive in.
Praise for Great Divide
More than provide her readers with a moral, Kiernan gives us a situation, one that is perhaps taboo and yet deeply and painfully recognizable. This is what the best writers do, because the best readers are not looking for self-help directionals or happy endings; readers are there to listen, and really listen. It's the only way we can believe there are others out there like us. GREAT DIVIDE lets us know we're not alone. And it reminds us that our worlds, identities, and realities might be, "Untrue, maybe, but deep enough to swim."
Anyone who loves beautiful writing will love Emily Kiernan's Great Divide. There is not a superfluous word in this tight, dense, richly imagistic story of a young woman trying to escape the deluge of her past as a flood of epic proportions threatens the western U.S. Kiernan deftly moves back and forth between past and present, drawing the reader into the protagonist's emotions and experiences in vivid detail. I felt I knew the places she describes and what it was like to live through the protagonist's story. This is a book that should be read like poetry - in one sitting, to ingest the flavor of it entirely - and returned to in order to savor the detailed, nuanced language. I was particularly impressed with the ending (I won't give anything away here); Kiernan strikes the perfect note, not providing too much closure but leaving the reader satisfied. Great Divide, for all its brevity, packed a punch and stuck with me. I'm looking forward to whatever Kiernan writes next!
The first thing one will notice about Kiernan’s book is the lush prose. Sentences that lap, slosh, run into one another. Kiernan has created a dystopian world, wholly believable, in which the reader, much like Jane, is lost on the highway, plowing ahead, rain smeared across the windshield as a flood consumes the west coast.