Beware the Tall Grass weaves the stories of the Sloans, a modern family grappling with their young son Charlie’s troubling memories of a past life as a soldier in Vietnam, and Thomas Boone, a young man caught up in the drama of mid-sixties America who is sent to Vietnam. Eve Sloan is challenged as a mother to make sense of Charlie’s increasing references to war, and her attempts to get to the bottom of Charlie’s past life memories threaten her marriage, while Thomas struggles with loss and first love, before being thrust into combat and learning what matters most. Beware the Tall Grass explores the power of love and mercy with grace and artful sensitivity in a world where circumstances often occur far beyond our control.
This debut novel is mysterious and lucid, rich and poignant, as Ellen Birkett Morris creates two sets of memorable characters and follows them in gripping stories about love and loss, family and parenthood, with real war as their backdrop, and pain and redemption as their resonant outcomes.
—Fred Leebron, author of Out West, Six Figures, and In the Middle of All This
In this beautiful novel, two stories separated by half a century intertwine to create an indelible narrative of peace and war. In the throes of his first loss, young Thomas joins the Army and travels to Vietnam, where he is propelled toward his fate. Decades later, in another time and place, Eve and Daniel welcome their infant son and resolve to set aside their own family ghosts. But is it possible to release the past? Can powerful experiences of love and death ever be forgotten? Through surprising and suspenseful turns, Beware the Tall Grass
explores the evocative mysteries of time and memory.
—Lan Samantha Chang, Jordan Prize judge
A young man’s coming-of-age in 1960s Missoula and the fields of Vietnam; a young family’s struggle many years later to understand the deep-hidden trauma of their young son; Ellen Birkett Morris’s compelling debut novel, Beware the Tall Grass,
explores the invisible, inexplicable connections of our souls across time and space. Masterful and deeply moving, Morris engages our hearts and challenges us to accept, and embrace, the transcendent nature of our being.
—Tara Ison, author of At the Hour Between Dog and Wolf
Beware the Tall Grass
explores the collision of past and present, courage and fear, and love and death like nothing I've read before—a splendid novel. Morris's first-person protagonists jump off the page. Each of them, like ourselves, must deal with emotional baggage while trying to create a new reality: a family filled with trust and love.
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife, Four Spirits, Adam & Eve
The past and the lives lived there are never really gone. They haunt the present in Ellen Birkett Morris’s novel, Beware the Tall Grass
. Written with a sure hand and a clear eye, this novel is a story of two families—one that suffers a tragic loss and one that endures. Two fast-paced storylines come together in a memorable end in this moving story of a mother’s love.
—Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Bright Forever