River People is a powerful novel with unforgettable images. Set in Nebraska, it centers around seventeen-year-old Effie and eleven-year-old Bridget. In the late 1890’s, they must struggle to survive religious patriarchy and abuse at a time when women have few rights and society looks upon domestic abuse as a private, family matter. They are taken to a shanty to survive the harsh winter, while Effie’s husband, sixty-three-year-old Rev. Jackdaw, preaches in Omaha. They have almost no clothing, only the food they can beg or steal, and only a few housewares–once splattered with blood—which survived an Indian attack during the Great Sioux Uprising.
The story is told through the eyes of the girls as they try to survive Rev. Jackdaw and the tyrannical ideas he asserts from the Old Testament in an effort to control them. River People is full of the unexpected and often horrifying aspects of male dominance in a world not so long past.
ISBN 978-1-945448-22-5 (Paperback)
6 x 9, — pages
Publication date: February 1, 2019
Margaret Lukas is a professor in UNO’s Creative Writing program. She received her BFA from UNO’s Writers Workshop in 2004. In 2007 Margaret received her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington. She is a contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine and an editor for the quarterly literary journal, Fine Lines. Her writing also appears online and in the 2012 anthology, On Becoming, published by the University of Nebraska Press.
Margaret’s award-winning short story, “The Yellow Bird,” was made into a short film and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. She is a recipient of a 2009 Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist fellowship. Farthest House, (BQB Publishing, January 2014) is her first novel.