Telluride Library: “One Book, One Canyon” Features Peter Heller’s “The Last Ranger,” 5/18!

Telluride Library: “One Book, One Canyon” Features Peter Heller’s “The Last Ranger,” 5/18!

Join Telluride’s Wilkinson Public Library for its seventh annual community read – “One Book, One Canyon.” Award-winning, best-selling Colorado writer Peter Heller will be in-person for a talk and signing about his new book, “The Last Ranger.” The event takes place Tuesday, May 7, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Get a free copy of the book while supplies last when you sign up at

Thanks to Friends of the Library (FOL) for making the event possible with its financial support. Click here to become a member today!

Go here for more about Telluride Library.

Go here for more about FOL.

And scroll down to listen to our podcast featuring Peter Heller, a teaser for his talk.

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is also an award-winning author of four nonfiction works and two best-selling novels, “The Dog Stars” and “The Painter, which won the Mountain & Plains Reads the West Award, shared in years past with Cormac McCarthy, Terry Tempest Williams, Pam Houston and other literary luminaries.

On Tuesday, May 16, Peter returns to town to talk about his latest, heavily laureled new book, “The Last Ranger,”published with Knopf in August 2023,

Per the Telluride Library:

“The best-selling author of ‘The River’ returns with a vibrant, lyrical novel about an enforcement ranger in Yellowstone National Park who likes wolves better than most people. When a clandestine range war threatens his closest friend, he must shake off his own losses and act swiftly to discover the truth and stay alive.

“Officer Ren Hopper is an enforcement ranger with the National Park Service, tasked with duties both mundane and thrilling: Breaking up fights at campgrounds, saving clueless tourists from moose attacks, and attempting to broker an uneasy peace between the wealthy vacationers who tromp through the park with cameras, and the residents of hardscrabble Cooke City who want to carve out a meaningful living. When Ren, hiking through the backcountry on his day off, encounters a tall man with a dog and a gun chasing a small black bear up a hill, his hackles are raised. But what begins as an investigation into the background of a local poacher soon opens into something far murkier: A shattered windshield, a series of red ribbons tied to traps, the discovery of a frightening conspiracy, and a story of heroism gone awry.

“Populated by a cast of extraordinary characters-famous scientists, tattooed bartenders, wildlife guides in slick Airstreams-and bursting with unexpected humor and grace, Peter Heller masterfully unveils a portrait of the American west where our very human impulses-for greed, love, family, and community-play out amidst the stunning beauty of the natural world.”

Heller offers an immersive story of a dedicated Yellowstone park ranger and the threats he faces down….Strong characterizations, a vivid sense of place, enough wolf lore to fill several NatGeo specials, and a Boy Scout Handbook’s worth of wood-crafting tips. Fans of fiction about the outdoors are well served. — Publishers Weekly

The opening pages of…The Last Ranger will make you want to become a better human. Heller’s style…is Hemingway with the machismo scoured out of it. He can linger romantically on Yellowstone’s atmosphere….But his observations and dialogue are typically as clipped as Papa’s. Still, his tension within the natural setting is more psychologically nuanced. — The Lost Angeles Times“

Heller writes in lean, descriptive, contemplative prose that often reflects a spirit of solitude…Ren, like his literary creator, is a philosopher at heart; you get the feeling he’d do just fine hanging with Thoreau at Walden Pond…The thrills of The Last Ranger…should resonate with any thoughtful reader who considers the human relationship to the world that was here before we arrived, and, hopefully, will be here after we shuffle off this mortal coil.— The Boston Globe

When describing wildlife and landscapes, he deploys the precision and cadence of Ernest Hemingway…Heller’s swift…thriller reminds us that humans are the most successful predators-but not the only predators.— BookPage

For more on Peter Heller’s life and work, listen to our podcast below.

Peter Heller, more:

Peter Heller at his home in Paonia Colorado. Credit, John Burcham.

Peter Heller was born and raised in New York, but attended high school in Vermont and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he became an outdoorsman and whitewater kayaker.

Peter has traveled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. He was the first man, with a Kiwi paddler named Roy Bailey, to kayak the Muk Su River in the High Pamirs of Tadjikistan. That body of water was known as the “Everest of Rivers” in the Soviet Union; the last team to attempt a run lost five of the 11 men on the team. Peter’s run took about 17 days in massive whitewater through a canyon inhabited by wolves and snow leopards.

At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he received an MFA in fiction and poetry, Peter won a Michener fellowship for his epic poem “The Psalms of Malvine.” That said, he has also worked as a dishwasher, in construction, and as a logger, offshore fisherman, kayak instructor, river guide, and world-class pizza deliverer. Some of the stories surrounding Peter’s disparate endeavors can be found in “Set Free in China, Sojourns on the Edge.”

Peter Heller’s latest novel, “Burn,” is out from Knopf in August, 2024. Early readers went wild:

“Heartbreakingly beautiful, and so heart pounding I literally read all night,” is a typical response.

“Burn” tells the story of two lifelong friends in their mid-30s who meet in the wild country of northern Maine every year to go moose hunting. A week into their trip, they come upon a blown bridge and a burned out village. They soon realize that Maine has seceded from the union while they’ve been gone…

To be continued…

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