© 2023 Elise Atchison


















Sowilo Press









Artists Field Guide to Greater Yellowstone


Trinity University Press










Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Paradise


Elk River Books Press








An Elk River Books Reader: Livingston and Billings Area Writers


Bangtail Press








Montana Quarterly








Elk River Arts & Lectures




Montana Indie Bookstores:


Elk River Books,


Fact and Fiction,


Country Bookshelf,


This House of Books,


Montana Book Company,


Cassiopeia Books,

Great Falls

Isle of Books,


Shakespeare & Co.


Chapter One Book Store,


Tumbleweed Bookstore,




Conley’s Books & Music,


















Elise Atchison


Winner Eludia Book Award

Recipient Barbara Deming Award

Current Finalist High Plains Book Award


Sowilo Press/Hidden River Arts, 2022









Watch Crazy Mountain Book Trailer created by Craig Lancaster.


Crazy Mountain chronicles a rapidly changing place and community through the diverse and conflicting stories of the people who live in a fictional mountain valley in Montana over nearly half a century (1970-2015). As newly built roads carve through the primal wild, and the rural landscape transforms into subdivisions and McMansions and resorts, conflicts escalate between locals and newcomers, developers and environmentalists, the wealthy and the homeless. Through multiple perspectives we hear the voices of ranchers, real estate agents, carpenters, artists, New Agers, Native American activists, landscapers, movie stars, musicians, pizza delivery drivers, gun-toting fundamentalists, and others including Kate, a troubled young woman who becomes homeless over the course of the book and whose own story in many ways mirrors the destruction and resurrection of the land. These varied threads weave together into a rich tapestry of place, exploring timely themes of housing booms and homelessness, loss of open land to development, cultural clashes, and the correlation between how we treat the natural world and how we treat each other, especially the most vulnerable among us. What does it mean to lose a place we love, and what does it mean to gain from it? Perhaps it depends on perspective.





The Open Mic Interview:

Richard Ehisen interviews Elise Atchison about Crazy Mountain, rebel writers, and Georgia O’Keeffe.


Kirkus Reviews Book Review:

“The author’s observant eye for nature makes her an especially adept chronicler … Each tale takes on a new character’s perspective, leaving the valley itself to serve as the book’s true protagonist. ... An elegant, eco-minded collection of tales set in a Montana valley.”


Big Sky Journal Book Review:

“Who owns the land? ... This question is often debated in the Northern Rockies at bars, cafes, and, most aggressively, on social media sites. It’s also the question posed with fervor and precision in Elise Atchison’s debut novel Crazy Mountain. Atchison’s story delves into a disparate community that sits in the shadow of Crazy Mountain, a jagged, snow-covered peak in Montana that, throughout the book, is increasingly filled in with development — from a trailer park to tract houses to “McMansions” to a sprawling all-inclusive resort. The result is viewed as either progress or desecration, depending on who’s telling the story. And, who’s telling the story is one of the most compelling aspects of this novel. With each chapter, the point of view shifts to another character, and the reader sees Crazy Mountain — and all that befalls it — from their eyes. ... Each of them speaks their truth, often at odds with another’s, in a swirl of voices that builds to a symphony of soul-stirring humanity.” –  Marc Beaudin


Breakfast in Montana Interview:

Russell Rowland and Aaron Parrett interview Elise Atchison and discuss Crazy Mountain and Tom McGuane’s Panama.


Montana Quarterly Book Review:

“The plotline is enveloped in the magnificence of a fictional rugged valley 40 miles from town that changes over half a century into a valley dotted with McMansions and resorts and subdivisions. Such big intrusions bring on a complex case of culture shock for newcomers and locals. Not only the land is transformed. Atchison’s well-thought-out characters ... go through a metamorphosis as their valley becomes unrecognizable. ... And we see what it means to witness the vanishing of what once was cherished. With telling, true-to-the-West descriptions, Atchison’s moving story sits heavy with a deep love for wild open spaces.” –  Jennifer Bisbing


Mountain Journal Interview:

Todd Wilkinson interviews Elise Atchison.

“We Homo sapiens have a huge task ahead of us. I think we need a major shift in the way we view our place in the larger world. It boils down to respect for the intrinsic value and rights of those outside ourselves, including vulnerable people in our community as well as other species and the natural world. The opposite viewpoint is seeing ourselves as the center of everything, which leads to transactional relationships with the world around us—a “what do I get out it?” attitude. Do we care that gentrification leads to homelessness? Do we care that the resort we want to build will wipe out wolverine habitat? The only way forward is to see ourselves as responsible parts of a larger community and act accordingly. Perhaps stories will help us get there.”








Crazy Mountain is a powerful story about possession and dispossession. Gritty and tough and gut wrenching, Atchison shows us how the West continues to be an explosive and embittered battleground, both sh*t show and love story. Crazy Mountain ignites a firestorm.” 

Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea


Crazy Mountain is a grand tale of the power of wilderness to heal wounds—scars on the land and the troubled humans who live in it.  ... This is a crazy and wonderful book.”

Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years and Was It Worth It, filmmaker, Disabled Veteran


“I absolutely love this kind of storytelling. Reminiscent of Winesburg, Ohio and Olive Kitteridge, this collection blooms from the diverse points of view held within Crazy Mountain’s boundaries. And the stories are the real thing—complex, sophisticated stories of the American West, not the tired mythologies that sadly continue to prevail. From subdivisions to resorts to the homeless, from wilderness to ski slopes to private land, we find an accurate, sensitive, and nuanced view of rural Montana.”

Laura Pritchett, winner of PEN USA and author of The Blue Hour and Stars Go Blue


“In the Mountain West, the landscape is a constant. It’s the people who change. Ranchers, realtors, carpenters, painters, archeologists, bad-ass baristas … in this artful, lyrical, deeply moving novel, Elise Atchison follows a piece of landscape through several lifetimes, capturing the dramatic complexity of the disrupted West through a full cast of characters, one lens after another. It’s a full time job, trying to make sense of the West these days. I find that this extraordinary book helps make that job a little easier.”

Allen Morris Jones, author of A Bloom of Bones and Sweeney on the Rocks


“In Crazy Mountain the lives of those who people landscapes of beauty and despair are multilayered, evocative, and rich with unforeseen mystery. Elise Atchison's prose is a vessel of precision and depth, unafraid to draw the reader into the more shadowed crucibles of life and help us emerge with light in our hands. In stories that cover nearly five decades in the life of a mountain and its residents, there is the wildness of the human heart shaped by the wildness that surrounds us. May you take this book home, cherish it as I did, and find in it the treasure it gives without measure . . . that of ‘the wildland that has been lost, and all that remains.’” 

Shann Ray, author of American Copper and Sweetclover


“With great insight, intelligence, and intimacy, Elise Atchison explores a singular dilemma: How do we live in paradise without destroying the very thing we love? Set in a place changing so rapidly that its inhabitants no longer recognize the landscape, one another, or even themselves, these individual narratives of love and loss, celebration and lament, interweave as the dreams of one generation give way to the disillusionment of the next. A story of human intrusion and intervention, in which moments of brutality give way to gestures of charity, Crazy Mountain serves as a reminder that what we think we own may not be ours after all.”
Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men and In the Wilderness


“I am blown away by Crazy Mountain. I knew I would like it, but I didn’t know I’d be staying up late because I can’t put it down-kind of like it. Bravo!”

Andrea Peacock, author of Libby, Montana: Asbestos and the Deadly Silence of an American Corporation and owner of Elk River Books


Crazy Mountain “tells the story of changes to a cherished place through interlinked stories of individuals attempting to claim the land over several generations. She has an uncommon feel for landscape and shows how human beings deform a place through greed, narcissism, and indifference to the past. She accomplishes with subtlety and engaging prose what the melodramatic series "Yellowstone" can only dream of. Required reading for all Westerners (and those who dream of becoming one).”

Ken Egan, author of Montana 1889 and former director of Humanities Montana











CRAZY MOUNTAIN by Elise Atchison

Sowilo Press/Hidden River Arts, 2022

Softcover, 268 pages

ISBN# 979-8985431711