In Three Sides Water, Peter Donahue delves deeply into the lives of three young characters who, though learning to act for themselves and make decisions with lasting consequences, persevere in an often insensible world. Donahue’s characters are ordinary people, defined by history and place, transcending the limitations imposed on them. Across the dramatic landscape of the Pacific Northwest’s Olympic Peninsula, these characters take extraordinary steps to show what it means to become the agent of one’s own destiny.
“Peter Donahue has produced a rare animal: three stories that flourish as separate novels and also succeed as a single book. He deftly details a brooding, primitive coastline, a juvenile detention center, and the modern I-5 corridor. In these landscapes are genuine souls—strange, hopeful, sometimes tragic—rendered with a remarkable honesty and care, who struggle for nobility in thoroughly compelling narratives.” —Bruce Holbert, author of Lonesome Animals, The Hour of Lead (winner of the Washington State Book Award), and Whiskey
“There is much to admire [in Three Sides Water], much to see, and much to experience. Donahue takes us from wild, rocky beaches to deep, dark woods and back again as his varied characters try to get along with their lives in a countryside as beautifully described as it is physically challenging. Like a trip around the peninsula, Three Sides Water is consistently surprising and always engaging, because you never know what you might experience next or what form it might take.” —Lance Weller, author of Wilderness (2014 Washington State Book Award finalist)
“Donahue’s deep understanding of our region’s history coupled with his willingness to portray characters left out of traditional history books make his collective body of work a valuable contribution to literature of the Northwest.” –City Arts Magazine
“For those interested in the history of the Pacific Northwest, author Peter Donahue has an approach akin to that of E.L. Doctorow in meshing prominent historical figures into fictional narrative . . .” —Seattle Times