LONE DOG ROAD — Update on my new novel

Well, a publication date has been set for my upcoming novel, Lone Dog Road.  It will be in bookstores in late April or early May.

Many of you have asked about it and many of you even contributed to choosing the title — thank you for that, you guided me well.  Soon I may be able to have cover options for you to comment on.

I love working with this new start up publisher — Polished Stone Publishing — a venture started by some of the folks from New World Library, which has been a loyal publisher of mine for almost 35 years.  Polished Stone has the energy and creativity of a fresh enterprise and the intelligence and wisdom of an experienced publisher, exactly the combination I was looking for.  There is always risk with a young enterprise but the rewards are great, and I’m excited to see how this goes. But it is going to require the assistance of you, my loyal readers, to get the word out and to help my new literary toddler find its legs.  More about that as the months go on.

For now I want to give you a taste of Lone Dog Road in a short overview of the book that is being used in the publishing world.

Enjoy.

Lone Dog Road is picaresque tale of compassion and redemption played out against the haunting backdrop of the American high plains during the drought-stricken summer of 1950.

It begins with two young Lakota boys, ages 10 and 6, huddled in a boxcar as they run from a government agent sent to take the younger boy to an Indian boarding school.  But what begins as a pursuit soon becomes a complex human drama as lives intersect with the boys as they make their way to the pipestone quarries of western Minnesota to replace their great-grandfather’s čhaŋnúŋpa, or sacred pipe, that was broken by the government agent.    

The cast of characters is rich and sympathetically rendered.  A middle-aged wanderer grieving for his deceased dog and seeking a place to put his life together; a Lakota woman and her ex-seminarian husband struggling to overcome an unspeakable tragedy while trying to eke out a living on the unforgiving South Dakota prairie; their elderly Dakotah friend and neighbor, confined to a wheelchair since an accident in her youth and now watching over the collection of artifacts left her by her grandfather; a Black traveling troubadour who makes his living singing spirituals in small towns across the Midwest; the mixed-blood government agent who is pursuing the boys; their watchful great grandfather whose čhaŋnúŋpa. they are trying to replace; the boys’ distant and vigilant mother who bears the wounds of her people as a cultural and personal burden; and, of course, the boys, one dreaming of a worthy manhood and one who is, as his brother says “other minded.”  And at the center of it all, drawing them together in ways that none of them really understands, is the čhaŋnúŋpa, the sacred pipe. 

This is an ambitious project, walking where angels fear to tread, because each chapter is written in a first person voice, and the prevailing cultural winds do not favor a white male author seeking to inhabit the minds and hearts of characters of different cultural backgrounds and experiences.  But my entire artistic life has been built upon being a sympathetic and compassionate watcher and listener, and in these times of balkanized cultural identities, we artists need to reach across boundaries to reveal the hearts and minds, not only of those who are like us, but of all those who in their unique ways, share in the common human struggle.

It is with this vision that I wrote Lone Dog Road, a novel of braided lives.  I will be updating you regularly, offering you excerpts and asking for your opinions and insights.  I loved writing this book and am excited to get it in your hands.

26 thoughts on “LONE DOG ROAD — Update on my new novel”

  1. So excited to read this new book. I’ve loved everything I’ve read that you have written. Your empathy and love for this world shines through in all you do.

  2. So very excited to read your new book. I have been a big fan and supporter of your previous works.🔆

  3. Can we p reorder Lone Dog Road?
    Thank You for the intro but now I can’t wait. My first thought was it should also be a movie or play.

  4. I am truly anticipating the read. It sounds like a carefully woven tapestry of characters and cultures, emotions and landscapes of the heart. Success is your middle name and you are so deserving!

  5. As I read your introduction to your novel, I wondered what Native people were thinking about you as a non-Native attempting to portray ‘them’ even with the relative success you’ve acquired doing the very thing in your earlier novels, including the world-famous Neither Wolf Nor Dog trilogy. I know you’ve gone deep into some of their lives and culture; and earned a broad degree of acceptance, but somehow, I think this format of being a cultural storyteller enters a different realm altogether. I am curious as to their reaction after its publication.

  6. CatherineStenzel

    What an adventure you have created as storyteller and as speaker for many with hushed voices. I look forward to sharing the trail with you as you round-up your resources (we fans), favor us with opportunities to comment, and allow us to engage spreading the word. From Beltrami Island Forest in far NW Minnesota
    Mitakuye Oyasin

  7. Let that “vision,” be felt and read by many open hearts…
    I hear you, Ken. You have my utmost respect for taking on this new journey…
    I look forward to having those pages turning in my hands…
    Have a beautiful winter…sacred medicine writing….Ah!
    Ramona in Montana

  8. Pre-order is a publisher decision. When it does become available, I’ll sell autographed copies through my website store. Thanks for asking!

  9. Nothing like good news from a good friend that only know by his way with words. Your book release in April or May will be like a late Christmas present that was lost in the mail.
    Doug

  10. I look forward going on a journey with you once again when Lone Dog Road is published. Your books always open up the mind and sport for which I thank you.

  11. I can’t wait to get a copy of your newest book. This will be my 6th book of your writing in less then a year. Excellent writing and spirit!

  12. Kent, Another road to travel with you. I really appreciate reading all that you have to write. Each book is a trip. As one travels the road of the book, one can’t stay the same. Your words and perspectives leave us changed in so many ways. Thanks for sharing your talents and perspectives with all of us.

  13. If anyone can write appropriate voices for folks who are “other than” it’s you Kent. I really look forward to reading this new work of yours. All the best.

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Kent Nerburn