“[Ryan] has a marvelous eye for the emotional textures of the most commonplace experience, the kind that familiarity makes almost subliminal.”—Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead
On January 6, 2014 Slant will release its third novel: Down in the River by Ryan Blacketter, a coming-of-age story that explores our society’s uneasiness about and mishandling of those with mental illness.
In Down in the River Lyle Rettew moves from the mountains of Idaho to the valley of Eugene, Oregon following the death of his sixteen-year-old twin, Lila. Openly rebelling against his family for the first time, Lyle quits his meds and takes his mourning out of the house, embarking on a pilgrimage that is at times heartbreaking and at times macabre, but is always infused with a deep love and respect for his lost friend and sibling. This novel explores mental health disturbances—and the behaviors that attend them—with frankness and compassion. Ryan Blacketter writes with empathy and understanding of the protagonist, never exaggerating his behaviors, but always locating the quiet humanness that animates him.
About The Author
A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Ryan Blacketter has received a literary grant from Oregon Regional Arts and a prison teaching grant from Idaho Humanities Council. His fiction has appeared in Antioch Review, Image, Alaska Quarterly Review, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives with his wife in Boise, Idaho and teaches at College of Western Idaho. For more on Ryan, visit his website at literarycraft.blogspot.com.