University of Nevada Press


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ISBN: 978-0-87417-809-8
Binding: [Paperback]
Pages: 296
Publication date: February 2010
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Going Through Ghosts
Maggie Foltz is a fifty-five-year-old cocktail waitress in a rundown casino in the southern Nevada Mojave Desert. She spends her days serving drinks to lonely old folks playing the slot machines and her nights trying to escape her bitter past. When she befriends Sarah, a young Native American woman who is hired to cook in the casino coffee shop, her life begins to change. Maggie finds herself falling in love with a memory-haunted Vietnam veteran and warily begins to hope that together they can find peace. Then Sarah is mysteriously murdered, and Sarah’s ghost enlists Maggie to accompany her on a quest for the wisdom that she needs in order to move into the next world. The story ranges from smoky casinos to the harsh magnificence of the desert and the reservation where Sarah’s people are trying to preserve their culture and find their own place in the modern world. Sojourner’s characters are compellingly real, and the Mojave setting has rarely been depicted as sensitively or truthfully. This is a memorable story of love, redemption, and solace, told by one of the West’s finest writers.
"Sojourner's suspenseful and finely observed second novel . . . pursues an unlikely friendship between two hard-luck women—one living, one dead. . . . Sojourner’s sympathy for her characters is palpable and gracious, making this a notable and worthy effort." —Publishers Weekly

“I have a soft spot for this book, and I like these characters. I think this is a book that serves Nevada really well, both in terms of landscape and in terms of the loving but unsanitized description of those who tend to wind up in a place like Creosote.” —Pam Houston, author of Sight Hound

“Searing and redemptive, Mary Sojourner’s prose creates rituals for living, for dying, and for learning patience while we endure what’s intolerable.” —Peggy Shumaker, author of Just Breathe Normally and Gnawed Bones

“You will not want to put this novel down until you’ve read the very last word. . . . Sojourner’s characters will not ever leave your mind and heart—even if you wanted them to.” —Susan Lang, author of Small Rocks Rising and Moon Lily

"Ms. Sojourner gives the patient reader a community of likeable outcasts who create a culture of caring in an off-the-beaten-path casino town." — ForeWord Reviews

"Sojourner skillfully weaves the wounded pasts and hopeful futures of these characters into a thoughtful portrayal of the unshakable human instinct to survive, despite unspeakable suffering and haunting memories." — Booklist

"...a deftly written page-turner of a novel with author Mary Sojourner bringing even her peripheral and supporting characters to life in the mind's eye of the reader." — The Midwest Book Review

"There are many characters and we spin in and out of their stories as if they are pegs on a roulette wheel. The pace is dizzying, but go with it. You'll fall into a tale that's intelligent; passionate; full of heart." — Ann Cummins for KNAU Flagstaff

"...a storytelling triumph." — The Source Weekly

"Sojourner's novel is loving and hopeful, a powerful antidote to bleak times." - High Country News