Tracy Daugherty is the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction, including the New York Times bestseller The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion. His short stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, British Vogue, the Paris Review online, McSweeney’s, and many other journals. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he lives in Corvallis, Oregon with his wife, writer Marjorie Sandor.
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
High Skies recounts the collision of devastating weather, Cold War suspicion, tense race relations, and the unintended consequences of good intentions in a small West Texas town in the 1950s, changing the futures of the families there and altering their perceptions of America. At the center of this perfect storm is Raymond “Flyboy” Seaker, a respected military veteran, now the vice principal of a school in which Troy, who tells the story, and his disabled friend Stevie will have their lives upended forever. Through a combination of his own well-meaning ambitions and the political maneuverings of others, Flyboy and the families he serves come to grasp the meaning of community and of individual fortitude. Written with a vivid economy recalling Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and painting as indelible a portrait of small town life as Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, High Skies is a perfectly distilled American epic.
“Tracy Daugherty’s characters have a stubborn, wonderful realness to them, the sign of a writer absolutely alert to the complex world around us.”—Andrea Barrett, winner of the National Book Award
“Daugherty’s writing is deeply rooted in time and place and the historical events that color the characters’ lives. The effect of this is not nostalgia but a perspective on the relationship between the private and the public, the personal and the political. His characters are wholly realized, the writing as clean as sheets on a summer line.”—Robert Boswell, PEN West Award finalist