The University of Wisconsin Press

Memoir / Lesbian Interest


Chasing Montana
A Love Story
Lori Soderlind

Terrace Books

An outrageous adventure told with humor and compassion

Lori, the heroine of this rousing narrative, is attempting to flee the hectic East Coast for a better life in the West. She is a child of the Seventies who feels misled by the rebellious "boomer" generation and disappointed with life in 1980s New Jersey. Spurred by the tale of her pioneering grandparents, who immigrated to Montana, and following her friend Madeleine, who has all the answers, Lori quits her job, loosens her ties, and sets off into a wild frontier.

Lori's story is one of love for people and for places that are more mythic than real. Her pursuit is as painfully familiar as it is impossible: she seeks meaning in life while working dead-end jobs, falls in love with uninterested partners, and plans a future that seems doomed from the start. Somehow, though, she persists and ultimately finds her place as a twenty-first-century pioneer.

"I rolled down my window. The air rushed in like a flood of invisible cotton, soft and edgeless. It smelled like the earth baked in sun. Oh god: it could all be so beautiful, it could, it could, if we wanted. I yelled above the radio and the wind rushing in: 'Madeleine, I want to be free as wild horses, I want to live among the buffalo, I want to let my hair grow to my knees and swim naked in cold rivers. I want to live, to live, to live until I die and nothing can stop me now. I WANT TO BE FREEEEEEE!' "–Excerpt from Chasing Montana


"[C]rystalline writing, and a saucy sense of self, both help Chasing Montana stand out on the bookshelf. Soderlind's refreshing remembrance of a road trip is set a couple of decades ago, when two newspaper gals from New Jersey, yearning to escape the daily grind of spiritually deadening jobs, set out for Montana.... Narratives about chasing the meaning of life down a lonesome highway are too often literary cliches. This quiet story breathes fresh air into a stale genre."–Q Syndicate Book Marks

"Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to quit your job to find yourself? In reporter Lori Soderlind's case, she wound up in Montana with a friend she's half in love with, trying to figure out what compelled her grandfather to move from Wisconsin to the middle of nowhere . . . In the end, Soderlind doesn't get the girl or move to Montana for good. That doesn't mean it wasn't worth the trip. "–The Oregonian (Portland's daily paper)

"This tale of love's illusions lost and found should win fans both lesbian and straight."–Booklist (from the American Library Association)

"Chasing Montana is great. It's an artful, emotional, funny exploration of the temptations and troubles of life back in the real world, why some of us leave it behind (and some of us can't), and whether it matters."–Outside Bozeman magazine

"Lori Soderlind has written a beautiful memoir about disappointment in America. . . . Chasing Montana is about . . . the inevitability of disappointment in a culture that promises all dreams come true. We chase those dreams and they're like rainbows: We can see them but we can never touch them."
The Salt Lake Tribune

It is a Montana state of mind, not New York, that preoccupies the primary character of "Chasing Montana," who also happens to be the book's author.
Lori Soderlind's memoir is more about a search for her identity than a geographic portion of America. It is a yearning to feel connected and true to herself, more than her desire to escape an urban lifestyle that has long seemed too stifling and barren.
—Mary Bergin, The Capital Times, Madison, WI

The Terrace Books logo is designed in the shape of a book with a Union chair in silhouette on the cover. The words Terrace Books, Madison, Wisconsin appear also.

photo is of Lori Soderlind. She is wearing black, sitting in chair with hand resting on her forehead. Smiling.Lori Soderlind worked for fifteen years at a variety of newspapers and magazines before becoming a journalism professor at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. She lives in New York City and Saratoga Springs, New York. This is her first book.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

There is a press kit for this book which provides more information.

Of Related Interest

Don Juan in the Village
A Novel
Jane DeLynn
ISBN 0-299-19004-8 Paper

the cover of Soderlind's book is illustrated with a photo of a yound woman with long hair driving a blue Ford covertible on a curving road somewhere in the West.

April 2006
LC: 2005021510 CT
256 pp. 6 x 9

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"An understated and moving memoir that feels like a road trip with a really good friend. But more than that, it's a subtle social commentary, a travel story, a coming out, and an epitaph for the ghost towns of the West. Chasing Montana will be a new road favorite for meandering women across the land."–Mack Friedman, author of Setting the Lawn on Fire

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Updated September 2, 2011

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