Remote: Finding Home in the Bitterroots

First Place (Memoir) • Idaho Writers Guild 2020 Competition 

7-Coming Up, Chosen by Pacific Northwest Bookseller's Association 2019

Order from Oregon State University Press |
Bookpeople of Moscow |

A tale of survival in a wilderness of mountains and ghosts, REMOTE is one woman’s journey to learn the fate of a friend who has disappeared and to embrace her own family’s troubled past in a vast roadless landscape of Idaho and Montana. Like the surprise connections of a wild trail system, REMOTE is told in a nonlinear structure, engaging with dreams and apparitions, the familiar and the uncanny, and questions of history and memory. The book’s 28 black-and-white photographs act as a complementary visual story.

Press • Interviews • Podcasts

"Because I knew, as an archivist, I would be forced to follow this trail, and in fact that's what has happened." Stereotype Life Podcast

"This wilderness, says DJ Lee, subverts all our narratives." The Necessities of Survival, review by Kimberley Ann Priest in Black Earth Institute blog.

When the quarantine hit, I thought, I can do this. I've backpacked." Zestful Aging Podcast

Offering readers a way to entertain and inform in a time when reading allows us a portal to other worlds, when we can’t quite get there in person” LitHub Best 100 of University Presses

"Whatever happened there that made our relationship distant and difficult, the same land allowed us to and closure and intimacy.” Inland 360

"But I had grown up in cities and knew nothing about how to be a woman in the wild." Ravishly

"Everything important she taught us was through story – stories of warning or humor or transgression, and I learned early on to embrace narrative as a way of knowing." The Debutante Ball

"As we find ourselves battling our own remote living situations, readers will appreciate Remote’s tribute to the connection between people and nature." The Art of Happy Moving Home and Self-Help Books to Get You Through the Pandemic.

"On my grandmother’s deathbed, she gave me this box that was full of documents and letters and photographs about the Selway-Bitterroot." OSUP Blog


Part adventure story, part cautionary tale, DJ Lee’s quest weaves through memory and meaning like a broken trail. The ghosts she is searching for—her grandmother, her grandfather, her friend lost in the wilderness and never found—appear and disappear in moments of mystery. Like the archivist she is, Lee pins her investigations to historical and archeological facts, even as she revels in the lyrical otherworldliness of extreme isolation. Her narrative reads like a journal of longing and belonging, bravery and fear, clarity and insanity, celebration and lament. Always, what she offers is a map that we might follow: more than blood, it is story that binds us—all that we have to make sense of our lives. --Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

DJ Lee has achieved an intricate weave of myriad strands, of the lives of family members and strangers past and present as well as her own intimate knowledge and experience, as she explores the perilous and profound implications of wilderness and in particular the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana. --Mary Clearman Blew, author of Jackalope Dreams and Ruby Dreams of Janis Joplin

DJ Lee deftly intertwines the evocative and the provocative into a beautifully written and fully engaging memoir. Her fascinating interwoven stories sweep us into the complexities and mysteries of the human wilderness, too, each chapter offering unpredictable surprises and insights that stay with us. A profound pleasure to read.  --Joy Passanante, author of Through a Long Absence: Words from My Father's Wars

When you dive into a book about a mountain range, you don't usually expect it to be just as compelling about the people of the mountains as it is about the peaks themselves. But that's just what DJ Lee has brought off withRemote: both an intimate portrait of the immensely wild Selway-Bitterroot, and a deeply engaging look into the lives of a whole tribe of lovers of this particular wilderness. The author, her family, and their friends and mentors are no simple lot, and how they tussle and circle over several generations around one remote ranger station (with more than one mystery thrown in) will draw you in as deeply as it did me. --Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and Magdalena Mountain

Offers profound and moving meditations on nature and narrative, frequently on the two phenomena together. This book about “remoteness” is actually a book about proximity, about deep and close relationships, relationships edging toward obsessions. --Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility