Gloss, Molly 1944-

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Gloss, Molly 1944-


Born November 20, 1944, in Portland, OR; daughter of Charles David (a railroad switchman) and Eleanor Marie (a hospital housekeeper) Lovelace; married Edward G. Gloss (a truck driver), June 11, 1966; children: Ben. Ethnicity: "White." Education: Portland State College (now University), B.A. and secondary teaching certificate, 1966. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, sailing, cross-country skiing, hiking, camping.


Agent—Wendy Weil Agency, 232 Madison Ave., Ste. 1300, New York, NY 10016. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer. Elementary schoolteacher in Portland, OR, 1966-67; Consolidated Freightways, Portland, correspondence clerk, 1967-70; full-time writer, 1980—.


PEN Center USA West, Women Writing the West.


Whiting Writer's Award, 1996; Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, 1990, for The Jump-off Creek; PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction nominee; PEN Center West Fiction Prize, 1998; New York Times Notable Book of the Year, 1997, for The Dazzle of Day; James Tiptree, Jr. Award, 2001, for Wild Life; Hugo Award nomination in best short story category, World Science Fiction Society, 2003, for "Lambing Season."



Outside the Gates, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

The Jump-off Creek, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1989.

(Author of introduction) Alison Day Pratt, A Homesteader's Portfolio (nonfiction), OSU Press (Corvallis, OR), 1993.

The Dazzle of Day, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Wild Life, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

The Hearts of Horses, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2007.

Author of short story "Lambing Season." Work represented in anthologies, including Universe 14, edited by Terry Carr, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1984; The Year's Best Science Fiction: Second Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, Blue Jay Books, 1985; New Frontiers, edited by Martin Greenburg and Bill Pronzini, Tor Books (New York, NY), 1989; The Year's Best Science Fiction: Eighth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991; The World Begins Here: Oregon Short Fiction, edited by Ursula K. LeGuin and Brian Attabery, Norton (New York, NY), 1993; Dreamers and Desperadoes: Contemporary Short Fiction and the American West, edited by Craig Lesley, Dell/Laurel (New York, NY), 1993; Circle of Women: An Anthology of Western Women Writers, edited by Kim Barnes and Mary Clearman Blew, Penguin (New York, NY), 1994; The Unknown: Where No One Has Been, edited by Miriam Rinn, Troll Communications, 1998; A Line of Cutting Women, edited by Beverly McFarland and others, Calyx Books, 1998; Roger Cara's New Treasury of Horse Stories, Budget Book Services, 1999; The Year's Best Science Fiction, Twentieth Annual Collection, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003; Contemporary Science Fiction from the Pacific Northwest, edited by Grace L. Dillon, Oregon State University Press (Corvallis, OR), 2003; and her story "Lambing Season," published in The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005. Contributor of short stories to journals and periodicals, including the Burnside Reader, Calyx, Oregonian, Oregon English Journal, Northwest magazine, and Isaac Asimov's Magazine of Science Fiction. Writings have been published in Spanish and French.


Molly Gloss is a novelist, short story writer, and essayist who has written western-based novels, science fiction, and fantasy. She has received several awards, including a 1996 Whiting Writer's Award for emerging fiction writers, and she was a PEN/Faulkner Award nominee for her novel The Jump-off Creek, her second novel after the young adult novel Outside the Gates. In The Jump-off Creek, Gloss tells the story of Lydia Bennett Sanderson, a widow trying to make it on an Oregon homestead in 1895. The author follows Sanderson in her daily struggles as she faces not only loneliness but a life of hard work in the Oregon wilderness. "Molly Gloss is one damn-good story teller," wrote a contributor to the Contentment by Design Web site.

Gloss turns to science fiction for her next novel, The Dazzle of Day. Calling the novel "intelligent and entertaining," Rambles Web site contributor Amy Harlib commented that "this book demonstrates why Gloss was the recent recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award," and noted that the novel "is thoughtful and provocative character driven SF." The story revolves around the Miller's people, a Quaker-based society that has been traveling for 175 years in a biosphere called the Dusty Miller in search of new planet to inhabit. However, when they arrive on the new world, they face immediate challenges as members of the landing party are killed and a virus contaminates their ship. As a result, they must try to start a new life or move on in a deteriorating biosphere that was once like a paradise to them.

Noting that, "ultimately, The Dazzle of Day is unclassifiable," Alex Golub, writing for the Gapers Block Web site, commented that, "although its hybrid status may make it hard to market, it does not in any way detract from the strength of this quietly illuminating book." New York Times Book Review contributor Gerald Jonas called The Dazzle of Day a "carefully conceived and deeply affecting novel."

Wild Life features turn-of-the-century rebel Charlotte Bridger Drummond, a single mother of five who is best known for her feminist views, smoking a cigar, and a number of scandals in the Columbia River town of Skamokawa, Washington. A writer, Drummond heads off to the local mountains to help search for a friend's lost granddaughter, who was reportedly nabbed by the region's legendary creature called the Mountain Giant. Charlotte has written about the supposed creature in her stories. Before long, Charlotte herself is lost and comes upon a family who may or may not be Mountain Giants. The story is told via Charlotte's notebook jottings discovered many years later in 1999.

Referring to Wild Life as "arresting," New York Times Book Review contributor Abby Frucht noted that "Gloss's inventive layering of the actual and the imagined provides a philosophical accompaniment to Charlotte's grueling trek." Christopher Cobb, writing for the Strange Horizons Web site, commented: "Wild Life inhabits the boundaries of speculative fiction—it's about speculative fiction as much as it is an example of the genre—and it inhabits those boundaries with such a combination of panache and tenderness that I was immediately drawn in to explore this strange boundary country."

The author remains in the early twentieth century with her next book The Hearts of Horses, which tells the story of a young woman who has a knack for breaking horses. The year is 1917, and Martha Lessen is looking for work. When she arrives at George Bliss's ranch, she is wearing a rodeo costume, but a quick talk with her shows George that she knows a lot about horses. Unlike many other horse trainers, Martha uses a quiet and unusual way to break horses and is so successful that she soon has work throughout the area. The novel follows Martha as she "gentles" horses, including one for a dying man who wants to give a horse to his young son. She also comes up against a cruel horse trainer but eventually finds a good life that she's never experienced before.

Noting that the author has "written what at first seems a very quiet observation of a single life in a remote ranching section," a Bookslut Web site contributor observed that the novel evolves until, "in the most subtle way possible, readers will discover a deeply heartfelt novel about a group of people who connect and intersect with Martha Lessen and her deep love for horses." Writing for the Kitsap Sun, Susan Salter Reynolds noted that "Gloss' intimacy with the landscape and ranch life is conveyed beautifully in particulars and small observations." Reynolds added: "She also has the skilled novelist's ability to show entire lives intertwined, however loosely, in a community."



Beckham, Stephen Dow, editor, Many Faces: Oregon Autobiography, Oregon State University Press (Corvallis, OR), 1993.

Morris, Gregory L., Talking up a Storm: Voices of the New West, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 1994.


Antioch Review, spring, 2002, Carolyn Maddux, review of Wild Life, p. 346.

Atlantic, July, 2000, review of Wild Life, p. 98.

Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, WA), February 24, 2008, Margaret Bikman, "Books: Oregon Author Explores How Young Woman ‘Gentled’ Horses," interview with author.

Booklist, June 1, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Wild Life, p. 1851; April 1, 2001, Brad Hooper, review of Wild Life, p. 1452; September 1, 2007, Margaret Flanagan, review of The Hearts of Horses, p. 54.

Daily Vanguard (Portland, OR), November 20, 2007, Marcella Barnes, "The Heart of the Matter," review of The Hearts of Horses.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2007, review of The Hearts of Horses.

Kitsap Sun (Kitsap, WA), December 14, 2007, Susan Salter Reynolds, "In Hearts, Gloss Beautifully Recalls Western Life of Old."

Library Journal, May 15, 1997, Susan Hamburger, review of The Dazzle of Day, p. 106; June 1, 2000, Laurel Bliss, review of Wild Life, p. 196; January, 2002, Nancy Pearl, review of Wild Life, p. 188; October 1, 2007, Keddy Ann Outlaw, review of The Hearts of Horses, p. 59.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 5, 1989, review of The Jump-off Creek, p. 21.

New York Times Book Review, June 22, 1997, review of The Dazzle of Day, p. 24; September 24, 2000, Abby Frucht, "Into the Woods: In This Novel, an Adventurous Writer Outruns Her Fantasies in the Forests of the Northwest," review of Wild Life, p. 30.

North West Education, winter, 2002, Suzie Boss and Denise Jarrett Weeks, "What They Remember: Northwest Authors Look Back on the Lessons That Have Lasted," interview with author.

Publishers Weekly, May 26, 1997, review of The Dazzle of Day, p. 71; May 8, 2000, review of Wild Life, p. 204; August 20, 2007, review of The Hearts of Horses, p. 41.

San Francisco Chronicle, November 4, 2007, Elsbeth Lindner, "Woman Lives Her Wild West Dreams during WWI in Gloss' Horses."

Seattle Times, November 2, 2007, Nisi Shawl, "A Strong Woman in a Fragile Oregon Frontier," review of The Hearts of Horses.

USA Today, November 27, 2007, Ann Oldenburg, review of "The Hearts of Horses Fails to Reach a Full Gallop," p. 6.

Washington Post Book World, December 23, 2007, Ron Charles, "Broncobuster," review of The Hearts of Horses, p. BW7.

Washington Times, March 9, 2008 John Greenya, "Tale of Love and Horses in Pre-WWI Oregon," review of The Hearts of Horses.


Bookloft, (July 27, 2008), "New Release from a Favorite Oregon Author," review of The Hearts of Horses.

BookLove, (April 21, 2008), review of The Hearts of Horses.

Bookslut, (July 27, 2008), "Cabinet of Wonders," review of The Hearts of Horses.

Catholic Explorer, (February 14, 2008), Mary Breslin, "Life for Early 20th Century Oregon Farmers Was Gritty," review of The Hearts of Horses.

Contentment by Design, (July 27, 2008), reviews of Wild Life and The Jump-off Creek.

Gapers Block, (March 19, 2004), Alex Golub, review of The Dazzle of Day.

Houghton Mifflin Web site, (July 27, 2008), "A Conversation with Molly Gloss."

Indie Bound, (July 27, 2008), Gavin J. Grant, "Molly Gloss," interview with author.

Molly Gloss Home Page, (July 27, 2008).

National Public Radio Web site, (February 28, 2008), Ketzel Levine, "Books: A New Novel Breaks Horses—and Stereotypes," interview with author.

Navonod, (July 27, 2008), review of Wild Life.

New West, (November 16, 2007), Jenny Shank, review of The Hearts of Horses; (November 23, 2007), Jenny Shank, "Western Writers: An Interview with Molly Gloss."

Outside of a Dog, (April 29, 2004), review of Wild Life.

Powell's Books Web site, (July 27, 2008), Dave Weich, "Molly Gloss," profile of author.

Rambles, (July 27, 2008), Amy Harlib, review of The Dazzle of Day.

Reading Group, (July 27, 2008), interview with author.

Richie's Picks, (August 26, 2007), Richie Partington, "Richie's Picks: Great Books for Children and Young Adults," review of The Hearts of Horses., (July 27, 2008), brief profile of author.

SF Site, (July 27, 2008), Katharine Mills, review of The Dazzle of Day.

Strange Horizons, (January 28, 2002), Christopher Cobb, "Wild Life by Molly Gloss: Speculative Fiction in the Wilderness."