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The Woman Who Lives in the Earth

About the Book

The Woman Who Lives in the Earth

"Does the woman who lives in the earth know the weaver who lives in my soul?"
"Yes, I think she does," said her mother. The young girl watched the silver creek slide through the soft dark green of the cottonwoods. "And what," she asked, "does the weaver weave in the middle of the middle of my soul?" Her mother looked into her eyes and said, "She weaves a story that is hidden beneath all your thoughts and dreams."
-The Woman Who Lives in the Earth

The themes that intertwine to make The Woman Who Lives in the Earththe rich tapestry it is, had been incubating in Wolfe's mind for sometime. In fact, the climax of the novel derives from a childhood dream. The story is of a young girl who overcomes fear and hatred by discovering extraordinary ways of seeing and understanding the natural world. 

A fable for our time, when trust, peace, and connection are elusive, The Woman Who Lives in the Earth is a classic story of transformation, of relying on our inner strength to overcome what is destructive and hateful in the world. 

With the help of a friend, whose experience owning a bookstore in Missoula made her familiar with the inner workings of bookselling, Swain Wolfe published the novel himself. Starting with an initial printing of 2200 copies, he sold his book to bookstores by hand throughout the West. He worked closely with booksellers, scheduled readings, worked with school systems, and his book began to sell. He prepared his own press material, did his own review mailings, and found himself having to go back three times for additional printings. 

Booksellers throughout the West made sure the novel reached the attention of several major publishing houses. On a business trip to Boulder, the publisher of HarperCollins asked a bookseller if any self-published books had taken on a life of its own. She was carrying an armload of The Woman Who Lives in the Earth, which she was having difficulty keeping in stock. 

On his return to New York, the Publisher gave the book to the Editor-in-Chief. Since she was intrigued by the title and the glowing reviews, she read the novel herself that night, rather than assigning the book to another editor. She was so struck by the novel's originality and language that she read it to her two sons as well. She reached Swain Wolfe the next day. A two book contract and a commitment for a national launch soon followed. 

And now The Woman Who Lives in the Earth, is on its way to becoming a modern classic. Swain Wolfe invites us to see the world and ourselves in a different way, to become re-enchanted by wonder and beauty, and most important to be assured that transformation is within our grasp. 

The Woman Who Lives in the Earth is a timeless story of a young girl who uses the hidden forms and patterns of the natural world to transform herself as well as her enemies. 

This tale about overcoming fear and hatred takes place in a time before modern machines or long after their fall. In a harsh, primitive world, an almond-eyed girl named Sarah and her family are threatened by a severe drought. Sarah's imagination and her fascination with the mysteries of nature lead the local villagers to believe she is an evil demon and the cause of the drought. 

Sarah is pursued by the Lizard Woman, the embodiment of the villagers' fear and superstition. With her allies, Kreel, Greyling Eyes, and Henkel -- a treacherous triumvirate of authority, terror, and record keeping -- the Lizard Woman incites the villagers to burn the demon child. 

In her attempt to save herself and her family, Sarah is aided by her great-grandmother Lilly and by a fox like creature whose voice comes to her like soft black sand sliding through her thoughts. She discovers her own power and redemption in a secret, transitional world defined by the memory of what has been and the hope of what will be. 

The Woman Who Lives in the Earth is a mesmerizing story elevated to the status of modern classic not only because of the novel's universal themes, but also because of it's deceptively simple language, vivid imagery and transcendent quality.

The Woman Who Lives in the Earth
by Swain Wolfe

  • Publication Date: August 15, 2012
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060927925
  • ISBN-13: 9780060927929