The Bones of Paradise: A Novel
by Jonis Agee

A multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee—an ambitious tale of history, vengeance, race, guilt, betrayal, family, and belonging, filled with a vivid cast of characters shaped by violence, love, and a desperate loyalty to the land.

Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future.

The One Book One Nebraska reading program is entering its eighteenth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. A committee of the Nebraska Center for the Book selected this book from a list of twenty-seven titles nominated by Nebraskans from across the state. The Nebraska Center for the Book board announced the choice for the 2022 One Book One Nebraska on October 23, at the annual Celebration of Nebraska Books.

Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events that will encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities are available on the Get Involved page. Updates and activity listings are posted on the One Book One Nebraska Facebook group.

One Book One Nebraska is sponsored by Nebraska Center for the Book, Humanities Nebraska, and Nebraska Library Commission. The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at and supported by the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state's readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word.

The Bones of Paradise Proclaimed the 2022 One Book One Nebraska

On Jan. 10, 2022, Governor Pete Ricketts signed a proclamation honoring 2022 One Book One Nebraska: The Bones of Paradise: A Novel (William Morrow, 2016) by Jonis Agee. Rebecca Faber, Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB) Board member spoke about the program and selection. View the full Proclamation.

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