Book Cover

Engine Running


Cade Mason

192 pp. 5.5 x 8.5

Pub Date: December, 2022

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction

Series: 21st Century Essays

Imprint: Mad Creek

order Paperback $22.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-5850-7
Order PDF ebook$22.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-8243-4

“These essays travel the roads of memory and imagination in sentences as sharp as their setting’s horizon, poignantly navigating the distance between what we once knew and who we’ve become. Joan Didion wrote, ‘A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest.’ West Texas belongs to Cade Mason.” —Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir 

“One of the most potent incantations of a particular time and place I can remember reading in a long time. Mason conjures his landscape and family with intense clarity, generosity of spirit, humility, and affection. A beautiful book.” —Ryan Van Meter, author of If You Knew Then What I Know Now

“Mason never fails to evoke the infinitude of West Texas’s landscape, a place where beauty hovers on the horizon like a storm. In Engine Running, he pulls off the impossible: profiling his escape while honoring his longing for this windswept, cloud-haloed home.” —Clinton Crockett Peters, author of Mountain Madness: Found and Lost in the Peaks of America and Japan

Engine Running explores debut author Cade Mason’s gradual distancing from home and old selves alongside an increasingly fractured family doing the same. Starting at the beginning of his parents’ love and working past its end, he combs through memory to piece together a portrait of a family then and now: of a father, reeling after a blindsiding divorce; of a mother, anxious to move on; of a sister, caught in the crossfire; and of a son, learning to embrace his sexuality even as he fears that his own loves may have deepened the rift between his parents.

Lush and innovative, these essays contemplate childhood memories and family secrets, religion and queerness in the rural South, and the ways rituals and contours of manhood are passed through generations. Most of all, we feel with Mason what it is to grapple with and love a place even as you yearn to leave.

Author Photo

Photo: Jacob Galante and Anila Ademi

Cade Mason holds an MA in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas, where he has also taught. His work has appeared in Hotel AmerikaDIAGRAMNinth Letter, and Literary HubEngine Running is his first book.


Part I


Knowing Me, Knowing You

The Howling-Out

On Roadside Crosses

Generations (Like Surrender)

Part II

What We Are

Part III




Child of the Clouded Brow

In Case You Find Us Unresponsive

Part IV



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