“The Cold Millions” author Jess Walter visits Park City this week
One Book One Community serves up “The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter as Summit County’s 2022 book. The book’s author will be in town Thursday to talk about it.
Jess Walter, a New York Times bestselling author, will answer questions at the Park City library this week about his latest novel “The Cold Millions.”
The book is set in Spokane, Washington. Walter said he wanted to write historical fiction that showed how rich history was for many mining towns in the west, and the gap between the rich and poor.
“I really wanted to write a novel that that resonated now with the sorts of issues that we think of but that showed how America could be divided along different lines at different times,” he said. “And to do that I delve deep into western history into this moment when it almost felt as if a labor war would break out in the west. And one of those places like Park City, like cities in Montana, and Colorado, one of those places was Spokane, Washington.”
Walter says he spent about two and a half years researching the novel.
“Writing historical fiction, you can't just have someone hop in a car and end up somewhere, you have to check train tables, and, you know, find out exactly where the train station would have been in how much a hotel would have cost,” he said. “And, you know, when phones went in certain cities and writing about that early 1900s period, felt to me like this, this gap in what novelists do we know the novels of the west of the late 19th century. And then we sort of know, you know, World War One in the Great Depression, but I really felt like that early 1900s period was just ripe for both research and invention.”
Dan Compton is the Summit County library director. He says the One Book One Community event is co-created by multiple local partners and it’s a way to bring people together around reading.
Compton says they chose “The Cold Millions” because it’s timely and has a deeply rooted connection to Park City.
“This town loves historical fiction. And yeah, after reading this novel, and it just fits perfect with our mining history here. And the labor struggle here as well, without would be it would be a nice tie in we could do some things with our local history to tie it in with this book. And it's just so well written to it's perfect choice.”
Compton says the library has several hard copies of the book. It’s also available online for free through the Libby app.
Jess Walter will speak at 7 pm at the Jim Santy Auditorium in the Park City Library. Following his talk there will be an opportunity for questions and comments. The event is free for the public and ends at 8:30.