Great-granddaughter of homesteaders in north-central Montana, Mary Clearman Blew grew up in one of the last vestiges of the rural frontier. Her girlhood choreshauling water and rounding up cattlewere remote even to her town-bred classmates in the forties and fifties. It was a girlhood she now recalls realistically, with affection but without nostalgia.
Many others have written about this land, its people, and its history, and Blew examines portrayals of the West in some of their writing, including B. M. Bower’s Chip of the Flying U and the novels of Dorothy M. Johnson and A. B. Guthrie, Jr. Always her discussions are permeated with landscape and memory.
Her essays interlock nature writing, autobiography, literary criticism, and history in a collection that reflects a woman’s life in the Rocky Mountain West. Blew immerses readers in a landscape of mountains and prairies, blizzards and scorching sun, and in a regional history in which Indians lose the landscape to white settlers, who find the living tough.
Bone Deep in Landscape demonstrates Mary Clearman Blew’s commitments to place as a source of knowing and to living consciouslyas writer, mother, scholar, and western woman.