Hannah and the Mountain


Hannah and the Mountain

Notes toward a Wilderness Fatherhood

Jonathan Johnson

American Lives Series

225 pages


March 2005


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Longing for a home in big, wild country that would keep them passionate and young, Jonathan Johnson and his wife, Amy, set out to build a log cabin on his family’s land in a remote and beautiful corner of Idaho. But what began as a doable dream for the two of them suddenly looks quite different when, on their first morning in the cabin—without electricity, a telephone, running water, or real windows—the couple learn that Amy is pregnant.
In this lyrical and intimate chronicle of making a home the hard way, Johnson describes the competing joys and anxieties of preparing for fatherhood in a setting as challenging as it is promising: a paradise of mythic snowfalls and warming wood stoves and elk tracks at the front door, but also a place where vision, and even struggle and compromise, are not always enough. Hannah and the Mountain tells a rare and delicate story of two people exploring the unmapped territories of loss and grief and finding solace and grace in the mountains. It offers the reader an unforgettable portrait of a couple growing up, learning nature’s hard and beautiful lessons, and discovering a love of place and each other strong and wild enough to renew them and be carried into the future

Author Bio

Jonathan Johnson is an assistant professor at the Inland Northwest Center for Writers, the graduate writing program at Eastern Washington University. His work has appeared in various literary magazines and in The Best American Poetry. He is the author of Mastodon, 80% Complete, a book of poems.


"Elegant writing and sharp dialogue mark this bittersweet account."—Booklist

“In this memoir, the twentysomething couple make their stand amid bald eagles, elk and snow of rural northern Idaho, where they dream of having and raising their daughter. . . . It's a moving memoir of how far some will go to hold on to a dream without sacrificing their values.”—Katharine Mieszkowski, Los Angeles Times

“A memoir of Johnson and his wife, Amy, trying to live in a rustic log cabin, 'Hannah and the Mountain' turns into a look at how life often intervenes, often not kindly, when least expected.”—Spokesman-Review

“In this intimate and, at times, heartbreaking chronicle of making a home the hard way, the author details the rocky road to fatherhood and the compromises made along the way.”—Lewiston Tribute

"Johnson's skillful dialogue, attention to detail, and empathy for life make Hannah and the Mountain a memorable account. In one sense, it is the story of ordinary lives. The beauty of this story is that, in the telling of the ordinary, we are reminded how astonishing life really is."—Mandy Page, Western American Literature

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