Winner of Honor Book for the 2016 Montana Book Award
At twenty years old, Pete Fromm heard of a job babysitting salmon eggs, seven winter months alone in a tent in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Leaping at this chance to be a mountain man, with no experience in the wilds, he left the world. Thirteen years later, he published his beloved memoir of that winter, Indian Creek Chronicles —Into the Wild with a twist.
Twenty five years later, he was asked to return to the wilderness to babysit more fish eggs. But no longer a footloose twenty year old, at forty-five, he was the father of two young sons. He left again, alone, straight into the heart of Montana’s Bob Marshall wilderness, walking a daily ten mile loop to his fish eggs through deer and elk and the highest density of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states.
The Names of the Stars is not only a story of wilderness and bears but also a trek through a life lived at its edges, showing how an impulsive kid transformed into a father without losing his love for the wilds. From loon calls echoing across Northwood lakes to the grim realities of life guarding in the Nevada desert, through the isolation of Indian Creek and years spent running the Snake and Rio Grande as a river ranger, Pete seeks out the source of this passion for wildness, as well as explores fatherhood and mortality and all the costs and risks and rewards of life lived on its own terms.
About the Author
PETE FROMM is a five time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for his novels If Not For This, As Cool as I Am, and How All This Started, his story collection Dry Rain, and the memoir Indian Creek Chronicles. The film of As Cool as I Am was released in 2013. He is also the author of several other story collections and has published over two hundred stories in magazines. He is on the faculty of Oregon’s Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA Program and lives in Montana. His second memoir The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds was named an Honor Book in the 2016 Montana Book Awards.
“Pete Fromm may crave solitude but he’s delightful company on the page. “The Names of the Stars” is an inspiring book brimming with wilderness adventures and executed with a pleasing mix of action, observation and rumination. In Fromm’s hands, a violent rainstorm reads like a transcendent gift and a face-to-face bear encounter like good comedy. I finished his memoir admiring not only his lucid prose but the wild life he’s chosen.” – Jim Lynch, author of Before the Wind
“With The Names of the Stars, Pete Fromm’s tough, supple, and lyrical prose shows, once again, the depth of his wisdom and the size of his heart. As a reflection on the natural world, which seems so remote to so many of us, there is much to learn; as an honest memoir of a man at the plumb-center of his life, there is much to recognize. Fromm’s return from a Life in the Wilds has in no way tamed his talent.” – Lance Weller, author of Wilderness
"Fromm's finely tuned reflections on this small but fully inhabited piece of the backwoods make this an adventure worth savoring." – Kirkus Reviews on The Names of the Stars
"[Fromm is] an excellent observer of the woods and wildlife around him, but he's perhaps even better at chronicling the feeling of being alone in the wilderness... His humor and honesty about the push and pull between solitude and togetherness and the mysterious way that both experiences magnify the other, make Stars a compelling walk through the woods." — The Montana Standard
"The Names of the Stars is a beautiful tribute to that urgent, visceral feeling that means we are still alive in this wild, wild world. This book will be savored by all those who cannot live without wild things."—Montana Quarterly
"[The Names of the Stars] is both triumphant and melancholy, the realization that you might be able to have everything you want, but not always at the same time. The Names of the Stars is a coming-of-age book for adults; it is a tightrope walk between holding on to who you are and letting go a little for something you love even more." —Kenyon Review
"Like his first memoir, The Names of the Stars is infused with Fromm’s exuberant passion for the natural world,his deep attention to the pulse and mystery that surrounds him." —Lively Times
"Although Pete Fromm’s new memoir, The Names of the Stars, is set in a place familiar to the author — a burlychunk of Montana wilderness — its narrative captures him at a point in life that contrasts with the youthful whimsy of his only other memoir, Indian Creek Chronicles.... [Fromm] has sharpened his craft as a writer" —Flathead Beacon
"More than a wilderness adventure... Fromm’s easy pose is akin to other great outdoor writers, particularly John Gierach." —Hungry Horse News
"A vivid memoir." —Sierra Club Magazine
“Honest, lyrical, and full of a kind of an ineffable wonder. Anyone who has ever loved a place truly will surely love this book.” —Pam Houston on Indian Creek Chronicles
"Pete Fromm is a talent to watch."—Ivan Doig
"I read Pete Fromm with admiration for the vigor of his well-made writing and for his generous heart." – Tom McGuane
"Pete Fromm’s good work is our good fortune."—William Kittredge
"Fromm is not just ‘promising,’ he’s flat-out good."—Men’s Journal