Call It Horses

Jessie Van Eerden. Dzanc, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-950539-25-3
A woman reconciles with the wishes of a late surrogate mother figure in Van Eerden’s elegiac epistolary novel (after the essay collection The Long Weeping). Frankie, 36, was raised by her aunt Mave after her parents died, and had been penpals with her aunt’s lover, Ruth, a professor of Mave’s who encouraged Frankie’s writerly ambitions and later died. Now, Frankie continues writing letters to Ruth as a sort of tribute to that wish. With Mave stricken by cancer, the two, along with Frankie’s beautiful friend, Nan, embark on a road trip to New Mexico to honor Mave’s love of Georgia O’Keeffe. Along the way, Mave, who refused to pack any of her pills except for “the good ones,” hints at her impending mortality while Frankie feels unnerved by Mave sharing new details about Ruth with Nan, whose youth, beauty, and ease make Frankie jealous. Frankie holds Ruth close while drafting atmospheric details of their journey (“The bright line of I-40 would pull us into places dried out nearer the sun. It would not be your Sinai Desert, Ruth, or your ancient manuscripts studied on sabbaticals, but it’s what we could manage”) as the narrative slowly builds to a poignant resolution. The quirky characters and rich landscapes will keep readers invested. Agent: Michael Snell, Michael Snell Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/06/2021
Release date: 03/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-950539-57-4
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