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Tag Archives: Norman Maclean

snippets from books

Melanie Rae Thon writes that “If Evan S. Connell, William Faulkner, and Norman Maclean had been born as one person, he might possess the extraordinary gifts of Bruce Machart.  The Wake of Forgiveness is a wild, Godforsaken cry delivered in language so lush we cannot stop listening.  The dazzling velocity of Machart’s prose bears a tale redemptive and resonant as myth, insistent and intimate as breath in the body.”

From the book:

The horses, they’re beautiful, though no longer the most beautiful in Lavaca County, and they don’t work the fields.  They race, they rest, they eat, they mate, and they race.  That don’t pull a plow.  That work Vaclav leaves to his four sons, and when Guillermo Villasenor drives his two Spanish-bred stallions and three olive-skinned daughters up the farm-to-market road from town, and when the carriage clears a thick stand of mesquite trees with arthritic branches and thorns long enough to skewer a foot in a way only careless barefoot boys and Jesus might fully appreciate, and the girls get their first glimpse of their future husbands, what they see, instead of blond-haired and handsome Czech farm boys, like they’ve been told by their father to expect, are weathered young men straining against the weight of the earth turning in their wake, their necks cocked sharply to one side or the other, their faces sunburned despite their hats and peeling and snaked with raised veins near the temples, their boots sliding atop the earth they’re sweating to unearth.  The four of them work harnessed two abreast in front of their father; who’s walking in their work, one foot in each furrow, spitting stained juice between his front teeth and periodically cracking a whip to keep the boys focused and the rows straight.