“A simply outstanding novel.”—Midwest Book Review
“The River’s Memory is a lovely, evocative book. Beautiful and ferocious in equal measure—like the river, like all wildness—these stories are elemental and mythic in the best possible way. They show us the deep, unbreakable ties between the human and the natural world. Lambert’s unflinching and unsentimental debut is captivating; prepare to be stunned.” – Sara Rauch, Lambda Literary Review
“Lovingly crafted details abound, succinctly revelatory of women’s lives.”—Booklist
RY: The novel contains some moments of shocking violence. Were these scenes difficult to write? Even beyond the intense subject matter, I’m always impressed when writers can select precise details or describe the geometry of fights—who’s standing where, etc.
SGL: No, they weren’t. I mean, not more than any other scene. And this, I think, is where having been disabled all my life is a factor. Disabled people write all sorts of things in all sorts of ways, but we nearly always include the body. We don’t leave it out. And writing what I call “from the body” gives us the experience of writing physical scenes in a precise, clear, and, I think, effective way.
SD: Artist Wanda Ewing, who curated and titled the original LFF exhibit, said of her work: “I’ve been making provocative art with a political edge in my Midwestern hometown since 1999. And to do that, you have to be tenacious as hell.” Are you tenacious in your work or life? How so?
SGL: I’m a person who uses a wheelchair. “Tenacious as hell” is an every day thing. And it’s meant that I survive rejections that don’t just reject me, but also the legitimacy of my point of view. Screw them. Each day, I try to make my writing better. I figure that’s what counts.
SGL: “I had to believe that I, in spite of being a dead end on a genealogy chart, had something to offer the future. This novel is an answer to that.”
On doing historical research:
SGL: ” If you find yourself twisting a chapter out of shape just so you can insert an interesting fact about raccoon penis bones, there’s a problem.”
Just then, my kids dug their little hands into the clay and stared at me, dumbfounded that this gift had presented itself to them. They each collected enough to make crude sculptures, and as I watched them mold and poke, I was a little dumbfounded myself. I’ve spent so much time wanting my children to appreciate the history of this beautiful place we call home; it had never occurred to me that, in their own way, they are becoming part of the history themselves.” – Tricia Booker
“In each woman’s response to addiction, sibling rivalry, racial tension, abandonment, or disability, Lambert etches out a fully formed character with a unique personality.” Cynthia Koster in the journal jmww
“This is a book of the body, of the senses . . . filled with suspense, often with violence, threat, and tragedy. And the details are so telling—funny, poignant, or heartbreaking. The River’s Memory is a feast.” —Elizabeth McCulloch, blogger
“Evokes yearning, hope, loss, and connection“ Pam Paris, reader