American Dream Set in Portland

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Local author releases compelling new novel, “The Tigers of Lents”

By the Book: Mark Pomeroy
By Donovan Darling, Staff Writer | Author photo by John Davenport

In his newest novel set to publish in late March, local author Mark Pomeroy gives us a compelling story of aspiration and, perhaps, a new take on the American Dream. Very much a visual storyteller, Pomeroy allows you to feel utterly immersed in the minds and lives of the three Garrison sisters and their family. Set mainly in the Lents neighborhood of Portland, Oregon — with scenes taking place in Welches, Downtown Portland and North Portland — the novel shows a family’s struggle with poverty and existential persistence. Sara, the oldest and a soccer star; Elaine, struggling with weight and mental health; and Rachel, a bibliophile and writer — all aspire to a better if unimaginable life. Full of bittersweet hope, we find the Garrison sisters’ love and support for each other is what’s needed to overcome the life and trials they are dealt. Emotional and detailed, a slice of life and deep exploration of place, this is an exciting read you won’t want to miss. Thanks to the University of Iowa Press for the advance reader copy.

Pomeroy was kind enough to provide some insight into his daily life, what he enjoys to do, his writing life and some of his favorite books and authors.

“Well, I was born and raised in NE Portland, where I now live with my family. Apart from writing and teaching, I try to get some exercise each day. It’s a key part of the writing life, I feel. A little jogging, cycling, hiking, and now and then some soccer with my teenage son, who plays competitively. (Yeah, it’s getting harder to keep up with him.) My family and I love to spend time on and near Mount Hood. Some favorite hikes: anywhere on the Timberline Trail, which I hiked in its entirety in 2013 with some writer friends, Chinidere Mountain, White River Canyon, McNeil Point, the Mazama Trail. As for books that I seem to reread the most, here’s a partial list: “The Remains of the Day,” “Cold Mountain,” “The Shipping News,” most of Larry Brown’s work, “Plainsong,” Luis Urrea’s “The Devil’s Highway” and “True Grit.” I also often return to Langston Hughes’s classic story “Thank You, Ma’m,” and poems by William Stafford, Pablo Neruda, Naomi Shihab Nye and Jim Harrison. I begin each writing day by reading a couple of poems, to quiet down a bit, steep myself in language and get my head right for the work.”

Mark Pomeroy leads creative writing workshops in Portland Public Schools. He is author of “The Brightwood Stillness” and a recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship for Fiction. He lives in Portland, Oregon. “The Tigers of Lents” is available for pre-order through University of Iowa Press or bookstores nationwide. There will also be a book launch reading for “The Tigers of Lents” at Broadway Books in Portland, Wednesday April 3 at 6 p.m. Other events and appearances will be posted on Pomeroy’s website,