Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Trailer Park Tuesday: Fifty-Six Counties by Russell Rowland

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.

     One writer.
     One state.
     One car with a cracked windshield and a back seat littered with the paper wrappers from McDonald’s burgers.
     Five thousand miles.
     Novelist Russell Rowland (High and Inside, In Open Spaces) wanted to know what made his home state of Montana tick, so he set out on a two-year odyssey, visiting every one of the fifty-six counties in this 147,000-square-mile patch of Earth. The result is a book that stands out from others on the already-crowded shelf of Montana books. Fifty-Six Counties: A Montana Journey combines history, personal narrative, social commentary, and travelogue in ways that are practically seamless. The trailer for the book is a simple one: Rowland gets in the car, turns the key, and we see a few of Montana’s streets and highways through that cracked windshield as he gives a basic explanation for the book’s premise. I like the fact that you don’t see the typical breathtaking viewscapes from Big Sky Country (the sunset-gilded wheatfields of the Hi-Line or the bold rocks of Glacier National Park, for instance); instead, the camera rolls through the somewhat drab streets of small towns with their neon-flickered drug stores, abandoned railroad depots and rusting grain elevators. In this way, the trailer is an accurate reflection of Rowland’s book: plain-spoken, honest, and always discovering beauty in unexpected places.

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