Cover image for Storm riders
Storm riders
Lesley, Craig.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Picador USA, 2000.
Physical Description:
339 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Winner of the Oregon Book Awards H.L. Davis Prize for Fiction

Storm Riders examines the conflicted love of a single father struggling to raise his adopted Native American son, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. When a small girl mysteriously drowns near a student-housing complex, the boy is implicated and the father wrestles with his own doubt, guilt, and responsibility.

Bringing to life the austere beauty of the Tlingit Alaskan village of the boy's family, as well as the highly educated pockets of the East Coast, Lesley vividly portrays a father and a son struggling to come to terms with each other and above all, with the truth. This novel, as The Chicago Tribune noted, is "a powerful tale with a strong emotional core."

Author Notes

Craig Lesley is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest. He has twice received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, for Winterkill and for The Sky Fisherman. He is also the author of River Song . He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

As desolate and lonely as the rural scenery of its setting, Lesley's latest novel examines in deeply moving detail the conflicted love of a single father struggling to raise his adopted, mildly retarded son. Billed as partly autobiographical, this wrenching tale examines eight years in the tormented life of Clark Woods, who adopted Wade, the cousin of Woods's then wife, Payette, as a way of trying to save the marriage. Instead, the difficulties of raising the troubled boy contribute to the couple's breakup. A Native American from Alaska born with fetal alcohol syndrome, Wade tests his new parents' marriage from the start. Payette, frustrated with Wade's erratic development, cannot sustain the all-consuming task of raising her cousin and eventually runs off, leaving Woods, a professor at Two Rivers College in western Oregon. Frightening, violent, possibly psychotic tendencies begin to emerge in Wade's personality, escalating over the years. As a nine-year-old, he is suspected of drowning a toddler in a muddy culvert. Wade denies it, but Woods isn't so sure. Yet Woods stands fiercely behind the boy, whom he is convinced cannot distinguish right from wrong, and whom he is unwilling to abandon to the state system for the mentally ill. At the same time, Woods knows he has to break the bond√Ąthat Wade is suffocating his spirit, sapping all possibility of joy from his life. The two do, however, develop a form of love as profound as it is forlorn in this intense story about loyalty and letting go. Lesley (Winterkill; The Sky Fisherman) captures this poignant, despairing quality of love, rendering quiet scenes as heartbreaking reminders that both Woods and Wade are in for a lifetime of struggles and painful challenges that can only ever be, at best, partially redemptive. Regional author tour. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Having drawn a following in the Pacific Northwest for his previous novels (e.g., The Sky Fisherman), Lesley aims for national readership with this new book. For eight years, Clark Woods struggles to raise his foster son, Wade, a Tlingit orphan who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and other abuses. This saga seems to argue for keeping Indian children within the tribal unit, as Clark's love and care are not enough to "fix" whatever is damaged within Wade. With the death of a little girl at the novel's start and Wade's possible involvement, the reader dreads another awful event. This is an emotional look at the relationship between fathers and sons and the complexities of trying to raise a responsible child. Lesley creates chapters that often read like well-crafted short stories, complete in themselves. For any quality fiction collection.--Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky University Lib, Highland Heights (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.