Wake Of Forgiveness
Bruce Machart, Houghton Mifflin $30
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 while giving birth to the couple’s fourth boy, Karel Skala. From an early age, Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked races against his neighbours. But Karel is haunted by insecurity and pain. Confident only in the saddle, Karel is certain that the horse “wants the whip the same way he wants his pop’s strap . . . the closest he ever gets to his father’s touch.”
He rides in the ultimate high-stakes race and fourteen years later, with the stake of the race still driven hard between him and his brothers, Karel is finally forced to dress the wounds of his past and salvage the tattered broken parts of his family.
A big-sky literary western.
“The prose is polished and evocative, the physicality of rural Texas in the year 1910 shimmers with loving exactitude, and the story of Karel Skala is a gripping American drama of misplaced guilt, familial struggle, and a search for identity.” – Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried.
Co-owner and manager of Unity Books Wellington; casual appreciator of saddlery and westerns.