A Washington State Book Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book
Thirty-three people live in Mountain City, Nevada, at the outset of Martin's affecting but clear-eyed portrait; by the end there are thirty-one, and none of them are children. The town's heyday is long past, its abandoned mines testimony to the cycle of promise, exploitation, abandonment, and attrition that has been the repeated story of the West.
Yet the comings and goings at Tremewan's, the general store Martin's family has run for more than forty years, reveal a remarkably vibrant community that includes salty widows, Native Americans from a nearby reservation, and a number of Martin's deeply idiosyncratic relatives, descendants of the Basque sheepherders who settled in this remote northeastern of the state during the nineteenth century. Martin observes them as they persist in a difficult but rewarding existence and celebrates, with neither pity nor regret, the large and small dramas of their lives and their stubborn attachment to a place that seems likely to disappear in his lifetime.
"In the rural West we're sometimes lucky and get the good books we deserve: Old Jules, Housekeeping, The Meadow, and now Mountain City. Northern Elko County is its own nation, and this is its sweet, ironic anthem."—William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky
"Mountain City is at the crossroads of the Western heart—the specific old loved place amid life's inexorable routes to elsewhere. With a jeweler's eye and a descendant's respectful affection, Gregory Martin has caught the cadences of life and lingo in this little Nevada spot that still counts for so much in the American story."—Ivan Doig, author of This House of the Sky
"Rarely is the story of a place and its people told with such exacting lyricism, clarity, and love. Gregory Martin has such a refined eye and ear that this book, composed from mosaic chips of memory, accumulates into one of the most beautiful and significant portraits of an extended family living and dying in the American West that I have ever read."—Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of The Edges of the Civilized World
"Gregory Martin has illuminated the lives of the residents of Mountain City, Nevada., like the pages of a medieval manuscript. They glow from within. The book is a classic—simple, elegant, and devastating."—Richard Shelton, author of Going Back to Bisbee
"Gregory Martin draws a gently humorous, sensitive sketch of Mountain City and its crusty citizens."—Evan S. Connell, author of Son of the Morning Star
"A big-hearted story about a small place . . . well written, sweet, yet unsentimental, telling the shared history of a community that's vanishing."—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
"Mountain City celebrates the alternate Western seasons of promise and pessimism, arrival and abandonment. Hardened like the place he sketches against the vagaries of life, Martin writes sensitively without being maudlin, as if pity were something he discovered late in life."—Ron Franscell, The Denver Post
"A crisp elegy to an almost-vanished American West."—Megan Harlan, Entertainment Weekly