Pub Radio: The Write Question
â€œAward-Winning Finalist, Best Book 2009 Awards, in the category of Literature and Fiction: General!â€
USA Book News
â€œOne Book Billings has chosen The Bottom of the Sky. Because this epochal, beautiful saga erupts out of authentic Montana into all America, because it stands up to the havoc that abuse wreaks in lives, in industries, and in society, One Book Billings chooses The Bottom of the Sky by Montana's own William C. Pack as their next, best read.”
One Book Billings
â€œKudos for William Pack. The Bottom of the Sky may be a first novel, but the quality of the writing is that of a well seasoned pro with deep insight into the characters and a story that is sure to move you. From Wall Street to Main Street, Pack takes us on a journey or exploration and shows us the pitfalls and potential of the human spirit while giving the reader an insider's peak at our current economic and social situation.â€
Barry Kibrick, Host of Between the Lines, PBS-syndicated talk show.
â€œPack writes with intensity and passion, achieving a lyric quality, particularly in descriptions of the Montana landscape. His deadpan descriptions of charactersâ€”and especially female onesâ€”often made me laugh out loud, while his rendering of both physical and mental anguish left me drained and tearful.â€
Dr. Andrea A. Lunsford, Director, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University
â€œThe fast-paced narrative runs the gamut of emotions, from raw to tender, as it careens to a shocking conclusion. Along the way, Pack gives the reader timely insight into the inner workings of the financial world, exposing greed, abuse of power and the fleecing of brokerage customers and shareholders.”
â€œPack's first novel is a poignant tale of loss and redemption as well as one of compelling action with appeal for both genders, a natural for the best seller lists. The Bottom of the Sky is an extraordinary look into two worlds, Wall Street greed and Montana poverty and abuse. The characters are richly drawn and quite unforgettable and the plot, both intriguing and touching, not an easy feat. One of those rare books that is a literary page turner with a language and style similar to the best of Pat Conroy but with a western twist. A new talent has emerged that we will clearly hear more from.â€
Jean Lin, AUTHOR OF BREATHING RICE AND NUMEROUS ARTICLES AS SEEN IN CAESURA, DMQ REVIEW, THE GUARDIAN AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
â€œPack's novel is a poignant tale of loss and redemption as well as one of compelling action and intrigue that has appeal for both genders.â€
FRIENDS OF SARATOGA LIBRARY MAGAZINE, April 2009
â€œWilliam Pack has written a powerful and poignant story that draws you into the saga of Levi Monroeâ€™s life and doesnâ€™t let you go. I found Packâ€™s writing to be wonderfully descriptive and engaging. I fear it may be a long time before I find another book that captures my attention so completely. You donâ€™t have to be a Wall Street insider or a cowboy from Montana to appreciate The Bottom of the Sky.â€
Theodore E. Gildred, U.S. AMBASSADOR (RETIRED)
â€œThe Bottom of the Sky offers up endless curiosity and complexity. William Pack blends the story of a young man with a hectic past into the spicy stock of Wall Street. He genuinely and skillfully describes the insides of the financial services industry. Having been there allows him to tell it like it is and definitely keeps you on edge through to the very end. At this skill level, it is hard to believe this is his debut. I most eagerly await more from him.”
David Standridge, RETIRED GROUP PRESIDENT, SHEARSON LEHMAN BROTHERS.
â€œThis is a well-told story of decay and doom. The prose is polished and smooth and the characters introspective. ... The overwhelming aura of tragedy and the futility of the characters struggles make this story a ... gripping read.â€
FOREWORD MAGAZINE - SUMMER 2009
â€œThe Bottom of the Sky is brilliantly written. I was drawn to (the main characterâ€™s) dilemma with the good and evil of Wall Street. The character is both beautiful and tragic in his journey to top management in the brokerage industry. This is a truly wonderful read for anyone who enjoys the struggle and triumph within and around our humanity.â€
Donald Shagrin - FORMER GROUP PRESIDENT CITIGROUP SMITH BARNEY
â€œIt's a timely story about Wall Street corruption, and how it mars everyone seduced by its plush light - even an honest man trying to stay sane in the House of Greed.â€
Jodi Upton - MULTIPLE NATIONAL AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST
â€œBill Pack has written an intensely brutal novel about treachery â€“ the internal treachery that permeates the contemporary financial services industry and the treason of extended familial sexual abuse. It is raw, but redemptive, as Packâ€™s protagonist Levi Monroe finds his final reward at the bottom of the sky. Itâ€™s a good read; youâ€™ll recognize the landscape.â€
Jim Gransbery - FORMER STATE EDITOR, LEE NEWSPAPERS, MONTANA JOURNALIST
â€œI read this many-layered novel more slowly than any book in recent memory, partly to luxuriate in the rich use of language and sharp realization of character, and partly to delay my exit from the intricately wrought and curiously gripping worlds of Levi and Lam Monroe. Pack's skilled portrayal of the pain and secret thoughts of abused women is eerily perceptive, as though he knows things he could not know. I was fascinated by his accessible story of financial treachery--a story as timely as today's headlines. Pack's writing and his vision are nothing if not brilliant. I can't believe he's walking around like the rest of us.”
Rosalie Maggio, BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF MORE THAN TWENTY NOVELS AND NON-FICTION BOOKS.
Debut 'Sky' Soars on Pack's Skills
â€œRoundup native William C. Pack's debut novel, "The Bottom of the Sky," reads like a top-notch book from a well-seasoned author far into a career.
His strong development of characters and vivid use of landscape are evident from the opening lines of the prologue of the book, which is set primarily in Roundup; Billings, where he grew up; and California, where Pack now lives when not in Bozeman.
We easily see Packâ€™s characters as whole, though tormented, individuals with hopes, longings, temptations and deep, deep disappointments. And the settings come to life - mountains â€œblinding white, pocked with evergreenâ€; a kitchen with â€œa bucket of steaming water slopping out liquid orbs that skittered like angry mercury on the hot ironâ€ of the stove; a rail bed, smudging from sight a distant locomotive that whistled to Levi with more promise than lament.â€
Emotions run raw throughout the saga of the Monroe family, which begins in 1969 as the Apollo astronauts return to Earth from that first moon visit and Virginia Monroe contemplates killing her husband, Frank, "in the middle of a dead zoo.
Pack's rich writing is made more so by his use of symbolism - not forced as in so many modern novels, but skillfully woven into the heart of the book.
The mountains and sky of the book's title are strong symbols from the first page to the end, as is the scar on Levi's hand from a burn caused by his father. Marked from childhood with skin that, like his life, has the color stolen away and replaced by gray.
Even the pads of dryer lint collected compulsively by Levi's mad mother have a hopeful meaning in the end.
What could be dry and dense talk of the investment industry becomes an understandable and compelling journey into the corrupting power of money.
Pack brings it all together in a debut that deserves national attention.â€
Chris Rubich, THE BILLINGS GAZETTE - LEE NEWSPAPERS, Headlined and Reprinted in THE MISSOULIAN
â€œThe Bottom of the Sky is a powerful novel about a brother and sister, Levi and Lam Monroe. Based in Pack's birthplace, Roundup, Montana, readers in that area will love reading about landmarks in and around Roundup and Billings.
Pack is a talented writer who takes his main characters from an abused childhood in the countrified setting of Roundup in the 1970s to California's sophisticated Silicon Valley and back again. He brilliantly weaves a 30-year saga of childhood disappointments giving way to the treachery of the financial business and Wall Street for Levi and more local problems for Lam. Filled with some heartache and tragedy, Pack's sometimes brutal writing captures the reader's interest and holds it to the very end.
This book is recommended, not only for those with ties to Montana, but for anyone who enjoys a good read. It will be available for purchase on June 10 at any bookstore. Anyone wanting to pre-order a copy may do so at bookstores or online at Barnes & Noble.com or Amazon. Those wanting a first edition copy must order soon before the first edition is sold out.â€