Harpsong
$16.95 Paperback

WILLA Historical Fiction Award, Women Writing the West
Violet Crown, Writer’s League of Texas
Western Heritage Awards, Western Novel, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
Book of the Year, Historical Fiction, Foreword Magazine
Oklahoma Book Award, Fiction, Oklahoma Center for the Book

Harlan Singer, a harmonica-playing troubadour, shows up in the Thompson family’s yard one morning. He steals their hearts with his music, and their daughter with his charm. Soon he and his fourteen-year-old bride, Sharon, are on the road, two more hobos of the Great Depression, hitchhiking and hopping freights across the Great Plains in search of an old man and the settlement of Harlan’s long-standing debt.

Finding shelter in hobo jungles and Hoovervilles, the newlyweds careen across the 1930s landscape in a giant figure eight with Oklahoma in the middle. Sharon’s growing doubts about her husband’s quest set in motion events that turn Harlan Singer into a hero while blinding her to the dark secret of his journey. A love story infused with history and folk tradition, Harpsong shows what happened to the friends and neighbors Steinbeck’s Joads left behind.

In this moving, redemptive tale inspired by Oklahoma folk heroes, Rilla Askew continues her exploration of the American story. Harpsong is a novel of love and loss, of adventure and renewal, and of a wayfaring orphan’s search for home—all set to the sounds of Harlan’s harmonica. It shows us the strength and resilience of a people who, in the face of unending despair, maintain their faith in the land.


About The Author
Rilla Askew, born and raised in eastern Oklahoma, is the award-winning author of four novels, The Mercy Seat, Fire in Beulah, Harpsong, and Kind of Kin, and a collection of linked stories, Strange Business. She teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma.

Reviews & Praise
“Set in Depression-era Oklahoma and drawing inevitable comparison to The Grapes of Wrath, Askew's novel presents the best and worst of humanity in its depiction of hardscrabble lives lived during the Dust Bowl. Askew's command of language is a pleasure to behold, bringing out the pain and wonder of her story with a bittersweet immediacy.” —Publishers Weekly

Book Information
5 b&w illus., 1 map
256 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-3823-7
Paperback 978-0-8061-3928-9
Kindle 978-0-8061-8420-3
e-pub 978-0-8061-8421-0
Published December 2011
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