Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country (Paperback)

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Article number: Houston DC PB
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On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, beloved writer Pam Houston learns what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all. Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston’s sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.

In essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air, Deep Creek delivers Houston’s most profound meditations yet on how “to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief… to love the damaged world and do what I can to help it thrive.”

W.W. Norton: 2020 | Paperback: 320 pages

This book is also available in hardcover in "Clearance" on our website.


About the Author

Pam Houston is the prize-winning author of Contents May Have Shifted, among other books. She is professor of English at the University of California–Davis and lives on a ranch at 9,000 feet in Colorado near the headwaters of the Rio Grande. Visit Pam Houston's website here.



  • Winner of the 2020 Reading the West Advocacy Award
  • Winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Creative Nonfiction


Some Reviews

"Pam Houston is in possession of a deep, heart-achingly beautiful love for her own personal piece of earth. And as equally deep is her ability for hope. In a time where the world is either drowning, or burning, or being drilled-into, Houston’s outlook promises a better tomorrow—even if that means we’re no longer here."

—Sara Cutaia, Chicago Review of Books

"There is so much beauty, wisdom, and truth in this book, I felt the pages almost humming in my hands. I was riveted and enlightened, inspired and consoled. This is a book for all of us, right now."

—Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

"There are few books I have read that remind me how knowing a place, studying a place—the soil and weather and beasts and flora and trails and light at a given time of year, and scent at another, and sounds at another—is one of the ways we heal, one of the ways we de-alienate, one of the ways we return to what we are—the earth; our home. Pam Houston’s Deep Creek is a miracle this way. It reminds us how to get home."

—Ross Gay, author of The Book of Delights

"Good writing can make you envious, no matter how foreign the terrain. Other times, you read a good memoir and find yourself wanting to track down the author and become friends. A third kind of book is so insightful and evocative, you shelve it beside other favorite and instructive titles. Deep Creek might just do all three."

—Nathan Deuel, Los Angeles Times

"Deep Creek is a love letter to earth, animals, and the best of humanity. Pam Houston has taken our heartache and woven it back into hope. Her stories of love, loss, and a life lived in relationship to land give us good reasons not to give up on ourselves or each other. This is the book we need right now to remind us how to endure—passionately. An unstoppable heart song."

—Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Misfit’s Manifesto

"Highly recommended as a memoir that combines nature, writing, and personal reflection. Library Journal (starred review) Houston's vision find a solid place among the chronicles of quiet appreciation of the American wilderness, without the misanthropy that often accompanies the genre; her passion for the land and its inhabitants is irresistibly contagious."

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"If Cowboys Are My Weakness was Pam Houston’s call to millions of women—blasting us with self-recognition of how we give away our own power—then her new book is the response to that call."

—Amy Reardon, Rumpus

"Always impressive, Houston is in striking form here. Her talent remains remarkable and her words extraordinarily affecting and effective."

Booklist (starred review)

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