Gramercy Book Club: Meet Author Ash Davidson! Discuss her Extraordinary Novel DAMNATION SPRING! Facilitated by Kenyon Review Editor Nicole Dutton!

Monday, August 23, 2021 - 7:00pm

One of Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021 One of Book Riot’s Most Anticipated Releases of 2021 One of Library Journal’s Rising Stars, August 2021 One of Library Journal’s Titles to Watch 2021

Debut author Ash Davidson will join Gramercy Book Club participants after the discussion of her novel, Damnation Spring, an epic and immersive story of a Pacific Northwest logging town wrenched in two by a mystery that threatens to derail its way of life. Nicole Dutton, Editor of Kenyon Review, will moderate the group discussion and interview with Davidson.

Registration for this book club discussion is on Eventbrite. A general admission ticket to access the event is $5. A ticket that includes a copy of Damnation Spring waives the fee and is $30 with tax. Please note that registration closes at 5 pm on the day of the program.

Kenyon Review is Gramercy’s Community Partner for this Book Club program.

For generations, Rich Gundersen’s family has chopped a livelihood out of the redwood forest along California’s rugged coast. Now Rich and his wife, Colleen, are raising their own young son near Damnation Grove, a swath of ancient redwoods on which Rich’s employer, Sanderson Timber Co., plans to make a killing. In 1977, with most of the forest cleared or protected, a grove like Damnation—and beyond it 24-7 Ridge—is a logger’s dream.

It’s dangerous work. Rich has already lived decades longer than his father, killed on the job. Rich wants better for his son, Chub, so when the opportunity arises to buy 24-7 Ridge—costing them all the savings they’ve squirreled away for their growing family—he grabs it, unbeknownst to Colleen. Because the reality is their family isn’t growing; Colleen has lost several pregnancies. And she isn’t alone. As a midwife, Colleen has seen it with her own eyes.

For decades, the herbicides the logging company uses were considered harmless. But Colleen is no longer so sure. What if these miscarriages aren’t isolated strokes of bad luck? As mudslides take out clear-cut hillsides and salmon vanish from creeks, her search for answers threatens to unravel not just Rich’s plans for the 24-7, but their marriage too, dividing a town that lives and dies on timber along the way.

Told from the perspectives of Rich, Colleen, and Chub, in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, this intimate, compassionate portrait of a community clinging to a vanishing way of life amid the perils of environmental degradation makes Damnation Spring an essential novel for our time. 

Ash Davidson was born in Arcata, California, and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has been supported by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and MacDowell. She lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. 

Renowned poet Nicole Terez Dutton is the 14th editor of the esteemed Kenyon Review, which has evolved from a distinguished literary magazine founded in 1939 to a pre-eminent arts organization. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, 32 Poems, Indiana Review, and Salt Hill Journal, and her collection of poetry If One of Us Should Fall, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Nicole received her MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She teaches in the Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program.