Arroyo Circle

A Novel of Reclamation in a Time of Loss

In the novel ARROYO CIRCLE, hoarding and homelessness are depicted through the dark marriage of environmental degradation and rampant capitalism. The story explores our collective role in the climate crisis through the lives of Shelley, a white, middle-aged handmaiden of a hoarder, and Les, an alcoholic, shape-shifting scientist, who lives in the creek bed behind Shelley’s house in Boulder, Colorado. As wildfires in the mountains fill the town with smoke, Shelley is confronted by gun-wielding police who believe she put a baby in the trunk of her car. When the warm Chinook winds blows through the mountains and melts the heavy snows, everyone, including the police, has one last shot at redemption.

“An ambitious and fast-paced story of wildfire and pandemic and flood told through the eyes of characters living on the margins of our communities and the natural world. Entertaining, sobering, and thought-provoking, ARROYO CIRCLE grabbed me from the first pages. I loved it.”

-Ellen Meeropol, author of THE LOST WOMEN OF AZALEA COURT


“Wildfire, flash flood, hoarding, and pandemic come home to roost in Boulder, Colorado. The climate crisis is not a calamity that happens far away or in a distant future. No. Right here and right now it’s time to face the music, and feel the emotional and psychological costs of what we have wrought. This is no sweet song, though small kindnesses, last-ditch efforts at hope, and the gift of an unlikely friendship sing memorably in this powerful novel.”



“JoeAnn Hart has achieved the impossible: a beautifully written, page-turner of a novel about the climate crisis. ARROYO CIRCLE and its richly drawn characters is urgent, impassioned and revelatory. If the world around us is burning, Hart is the poet/naturalist who will guide us through the flames.”

– Laura Harrington, author of A CATALOG OF BIRDS


“Against the backdrop of Colorado’s smoke-filled summer skies, JoeAnn Hart brings together an unforgettable cast of characters, drawn together by loss and by living on the edges of a society ravaged by climate change and Covid. Yet in a world where lives change in an instant, what prevails in this remarkable and inventive novel is compassion, hope, and the wonders of nature. At once haunting and witty, vivid and ethereal, ARROYO CIRCLE is a beautifully written ode to our changing world.”

—Midge Raymond, author of FLOREANA and MY LAST CONTINENT