The Wake of Forgiveness

The Wake of Forgiveness

Book - 2010
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Reminiscent of Kent Haruf and Cormac McCarthy, Bruce Machart's debut novel is a dark family saga set in the American Southwest.


On a moonless Texas night in 1895, an ambitious young landowner suffers the loss of "the only woman he's ever been fond of" when his wife dies during childbirth with the couple's fourth son, Karel. The boy is forever haunted by thoughts of the mother he never knew, by the bloodshot blame in his father's eyes, and permanently marked by the yoke he and his brothers are forced to wear to plow the family fields. From an early age, Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked horseraces against his neighbors. In the winter of 1910, Karel rides in the ultimate high-stakes race against a powerful Spanish patriarch and his alluring daughters: hanging in the balance are his father's fortune, his brothers' futures, and his own fate.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010
ISBN: 9780151014439
Branch Call Number: F MAC NVD
Characteristics: 309 p. ; 24 cm


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Aug 22, 2011

Here's a stellar debut novel flawlessly written?lyrical prose, realistic characters, and terrific sense of place. The story centers on a motherless boy, Karel Skala, his father and older brothers in three time periods from 1900 to 1924 in a Czech immigrant community in southeast Texas.

Machart has used his knowledge of these people, their time and place to full advantage, building his tale on a classic ?stranger comes to town' plot. There's horseracing, regret, revenge, beer smuggling, women who are strong and men who are good looking! What else does a story need! Some may have just a little trouble staying with a story that jumps back and forth in the three time periods and varying points of view. To me, it just made this superb book more interesting.

debwalker Oct 20, 2010

Bruce Machart has written a marvel of a book, stunning and riveting. His depictions of a hard land and a hard life, softened by women and the distractions of beer, church and polka music, evoke a recent past so clearly one can hear the click of dominoes and taste a cold pilsner. His exploration of how mother-loss can shatter lives is heartbreaking. His rich prose shimmers and shocks, as the tragedy sown in the wake of the plow turns into the wake of redemption.--Marilyn Dahl

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