Contact Michael


    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

    Search site

    Reader, Writer

    Above the Fire

    A Novel

    Available December 5 from Blackstone Publishing

    Above the Fire crystallizes the relationship between a father and son as they survive a winter of isolation. Laboring under a shared loss, Doug and his young son, Tim, set out on a late season backpacking trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They find beauty and solidarity in the outdoors, making friends along the trail, and falling into the rhythms of an expedition. But when reports of warfare and social collapse reach the ranger station, Doug – seeking to protect the only family he has left – withdraws even further into the backcountry.

    The alpine winter presents its own dangers, as father and son must endure the elements, the solitude, and the ever-present threat of outsiders. As their isolation intensifies, and the nature of the country’s disorder becomes more unsettling, their bond with each other grows more fierce. But as spring approaches, they must decide whether – and how – to confront the perils of a changed world.

    “An utterly gripping debut novel about humans surmounting threats both external and emotional.” Booklist (starred review)

    Recent articles

    The American West is a great setting for a story, but a hard place to live. That is the theme of new biographies of Willa Cather and Larry McMurtry, 20th-century...
    Hilary Mantel wrote with a novelist’s flair and a historian’s mind. Her fiction overflows with the busy detritus of life: this plate of fruit, that whispered threat, children at play,...
    Of all the artifacts that persist in the face of new technology, the globe may be strangest. Books have stubbornly clung to market share despite the rise of e-readers. Mechanical wristwatches...
    On his first night in rehabilitation after a massive stroke at age 68, the writer Jonathan Raban took on a project. “I had long promised myself to read Tony Judt’s Postwar:...
    George Orwell was a man in need of a better half. Reserved and awkward, he was inept at manual tasks and perennially sick. For most of his brief life he...
    I once invited Martin Amis to play tennis. The year was 2007 and he was visiting Chicago to promote his latest novel, House of Meetings. After his book talk, I...
    People who love watches tend to be romantics, more interested in yesterday than tomorrow. The current Apple Watch can make calls and receive e-mails, track heartbeats and count sheep...
    The pandemic is officially over. By federal declaration, the public health emergency expired on May 11, capping a general sense that has been in the air for months. Yet Covid-19’s...

    © 2023 Michael O’Donnell. All rights reserved.