Gravity Hill

A Memoir

“The sound of parenthood is the sigh.” So begins Gravity Hill, written from the perspective of a new father seeking hope, beauty, and meaning in an uncertain world. Many memoirs recount the author’s experiences of growing up and struggling with demons; Werner’s shows how old demons sometimes return on the heels of something as beautiful as children. Werner’s memoir is about growing up, getting older, looking back, and wondering what lies ahead—a process that becomes all the more complicated and intense when parenting is involved. Moving backward and forward between past, present, and future, Gravity Hill does not delineate time so much as collapse it.

Werner narrates his struggle growing up in suburban Utah as anon-Mormon and what it took for him, his siblings, and his friends to feel like they belonged. Bonding in separation, they indulged in each other, in natural and urban landscapes, and sometimes in the destructive behaviors that are the native resort of outsidersincluding promiscuous and occasionally violent sexual behavior—and for some, paths to death and suicide. Gravity Hill is the story of the author’s descent into and eventual emergence from his dysfunction and into a newfound life. Infused with humor, honesty, and reflection, this literary memoir will resonate with readers young and old.

Maximilian Werner earned an MFA in poetry from Arizona State University and is the author of the essay collection Black River Dreams and the novel Crooked Creek. His poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, and essays have appeared in journals and magazines, including Matter Journal: Edward Abbey Edition, The North American Review, ISLE, Weber Studies, Fly Rod & Reel, and Columbia. He lives in Salt Lake City and teaches writing at the University of Utah.

Table of Contents:
Author’s Note
Part I. Trillium
Part II. Heat Monster
Part III. Canine Tableaux
Part IV. Earthshine

Praise and Reviews:
“A captivating, lyrical, multi-layered portrait of the narrator’s adolescence and contemporary parenthood. This story is not that of Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge, nor is it Amy Irvine’s Trespass; its portrait of the region, the city, the characters and time, are distinctly different, irreverent, darkly funny, the story of coming into manhood in a city whose wild areas are the scenes of wild parties and escapades instead of solitary meditations. The contrast between the narrator and the Mormon culture of the region was something I’d not seen described before.”—James Barilla, author of West with the Rise: Fly-fishing across America

“In this beautifully written and highly personal memoir, a forty-something father of two small children sorts through a past that includes plenty of fast cars, sex, and drug use. The quality of the prose is strong.”—Paul Bogard, author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light