photo by Jay Cross

Perma Red: Louise White Elk and Baptiste Yellow Knife

The birds stayed away from the weeds where she and Baptiste hid from Charlie Kicking Woman. They sat up on the hill in a thatch of rustling grass where they could watch Highway 200 and the Flathead River. To the east, Louise could see the Mission Mountains, the distant threads of snow that marked them. She could see the corner of her grandmother’s house. Baptiste spotted Charlie first. Charlie’s first stop was her home. (74)

Earling, Debra Magpie. Perma Red. New York: BlueHen Books, 2002.

About the Book

Perma Red

Perma Red, published in 2002, received the Western Writers Association Spur Award for Best Novel of the West, the Mountain and Plains Bookseller Association Award, and the American Book Award. The novel was chosen by Barnes and Noble as part of its “Discover Great New Writers” series.

Earling began writing Perma Red in 1984. It was rewritten nine times and edited from 800 to 288 pages. One version of the manuscript was lost in a house fire. Still, Earling persevered and the book went on to be a remarkable success.

While the settings in Perma Red are clearly drawn from actual locales, it is understood that the novel—including its places—is ultimately the product of the author’s imagination. The intent of this literary map is to enrich the reading experience by interpreting those places, not to render them literally or definitively.

About the Author

Debra Magpie Earling

Debra Magpie Earling was born in Spokane, Washington, and grew up in western Montana. She is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. In 1986 she graduated from the University of Washington magna cum laude. She received her MA in English and Fine Arts from Cornell University, and now teaches creative writing at the University of Montana. Earling’s Lost Journals of Sacajewea—a collaboration with master printer Peter Koch—was published in 2010.

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