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An NPR Best Book of 2014
A Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection
A "bleak and brilliant" (Minneapolis Star Tribune) debut novel ,"one of the finest evocations of life in Western America in recent memory, a book that stands alongside Richard Ford's Rock Springs, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, James Welch's Fools Crow." (William Kittredge)
Steeped in a lonesome Montana landscape as unyielding and raw as it is beautiful, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen is a new classic in the literature of the American West.
At the center of this searing, fever dream of a novel are two men—a killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy—sitting across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell: John Gload, so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced the prospect of long-term incarceration and Valentine Millimaki, low man in the Copper County sheriff's department, who draws the overnight shift after Gload's arrest. With a disintegrating marriage further collapsing under the strain of his night duty, Millimaki finds himself seeking counsel from a man whose troubled past shares something essential with his own. Their uneasy friendship takes a startling turn with a brazen act of violence that yokes together two haunted souls by the secrets they share, and by the rugged country that keeps them.
I put this book down on first attempt. Months passed and my second attempt resulted in mild enjoyment. The story lines are solid and character development excellent. The first third of the book is very difficult to follow - hence my first putdown. Pleased I restarted (from page 1) but will not read another by this author.
The descriptions in this book are so meaningful to me having grown up in this part of Montana. The pictures painted by the words are so real that I had to read many passages out loud to others that they too could be amazed. Sadly I finished it too quickly. Please write another with Montana as the setting.