Coal Black Horse ) delivers another richly characterized, tightly woven story of nature, inevitability and the human condition. In"/>
 

Far Bright Star

Robert Olmstead, Author
Robert Olmstead, Author . Algonquin $23.95 (207p) ISBN 978-1-56512-592-6
Reviewed on: 02/16/2009
Release date: 05/01/2009

In his seventh novel, Olmstead (Coal Black Horse ) delivers another richly characterized, tightly woven story of nature, inevitability and the human condition. In 1916, the aging Napoleon Childs assembles a cavalry to search for the elusive bandit Pancho Villa in Mexico. The ragtag group includes Napoleon’s brother, Xenophon, and “America’s eager export of losers, deadbeats, cutthroats, dilettantes, and murderers.” Riding on horseback for months at a time, Napoleon finds himself and his men always just a few hours behind Villa, whose posse navigates the unforgiving terrain with ease. When a band of marauders descend upon the group, many of Napoleon’s men are brutally slaughtered and Napoleon himself is left beaten and emotionally broken. After the attack, Napoleon proclaims to his brother that the person he was died out there. But this revelation doesn’t last long, and soon Napoleon sets out on yet another date with destiny on the open plains with his followers. Reminiscent of Kent Haruf, Olmstead’s brilliantly expressive, condensed tale of resilience and dusty determination flows with the kind of literary cadence few writers have mastered. (May)

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