Summary

An award-winning short story writer of decades standing, Carlson here turns to long-form fiction, as he has been doing recently with works like Five Skies and The Signal. In 1999, four friends who once played in a high school band reunite in their hometown, Oakpine, WY-Craig and Frank never left, Mason is back from Denver to sell his parents home, and Jimmy, who had gone to New York and become a famous novelist, has returned because he is dying. For readers who like thoughtful.


From a widely admired author, a poignant novel about homecoming, friendship, growing up, and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo

In this finely wrought portrait of western American life, Ron Carlson takes us to the small town of Oakpine, Wyoming, and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the world.

In high school, these men were in a band. One of them, Jimmy, left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother. A successful novelist, he has returned thirty years later, in 1999—because he is dying.
With Carlson’s characteristic grace, we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives. Craig and Frank never left; Mason, a top lawyer in Denver, is back in town to fix up and sell his parents’ house. Now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do.

Return to Oakpine
is a generous, tender look at friendship, family, and the roads not taken, by a writer at the peak of his craft.