Anything Will Be Easy after This: A Western Identity Crisis (American Lives ) (Paperback)
Bethany Maile had a mythological American West in mind when she returned to Idaho after dropping out of college in Boston, only to find a farm-town-turned-suburb instead of the Wild West wonderland she remembered. Haunted by what she had so completely misremembered, Maile resolved to investigate her attachment to the western myth, however flawed.
Deciding to engage in a variety of “western” events, Maile trailed rodeo queens, bid on cattle, fired .22s at the gun range, and searched out wild horses. With lively reportage and a sharp wit, she recounts her efforts to understand how the western myth is outdated yet persistent while ultimately exploring the need for story and the risks inherent to that need. Anything Will Be Easy after This traces Maile’s evolution from a girl suckered by a busted-down story to a more knowing woman who discovers a new narrative that enchants without deluding.
About the Author
Bethany Maile is a professor of writing at Boise State University. Her work has been published in Shenandoah, the Rumpus, River Teeth, Prairie Schooner, High Desert Journal, and the Normal School.
"Blending personal insight with sharp-eyed cultural analysis, the author celebrates the West and Western identity without ever losing sight of the myriad complexities that underlie both. An eloquent and perceptive memoir in essays."—Kirkus Reviews
— Kirkus Reviews
— Ander Monson
— Kim Barnes
— Joe Wilkins