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For the bookshelf: East of Denver

Book cover of "East of Denver" by Gregory HillEast of Denver
By Gregory Hill
Dutton Adult, 2012

 

East of Denver tells the story of Shakespeare Williams, who returns to his family’s farm in eastern Colorado to find his widowed, senile father living in squalor. Facing the loss of the farm, Shakespeare hatches a plot with his father and a motley crew of his former high school classmates to rob the local bank. The novel is based on Hill’s own past growing up in Joes, Colo. (called Dorsey, Colo., in the book), and his more recent experiences watching his father’s battle against Alzheimer’s disease. “There’s all these Alzheimer’s memoirs that are really sensitive and thoughtful, and I wanted to write something that wasn’t as sensitive or thoughtful about that disease. So I said ‘what can you do to make Alzheimer’s fun?’ I was like well, I’ll have the kid try to rob a bank with the old man.” The book won the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for general fiction, and Time magazine book critic Lev Grossman wrote, “This is writing on a par with that of top-flight black-comic novelists like Sam Lipsyte and Jess Walter, and it deserves to be read.” Hill, who has worked as a book-buyer at DU’s Penrose Library since 2002, was one of thousands of writers who entered the contest for unpublished novels earlier this year. East of Denver will be published in June 2012 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.

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