'Imagine the spirit of Hemingway reborn in the soul of a ranch-owner's son in Wyoming' - Esquire
Mark Spragg is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, a memoir that won the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award, and The Fruit of Stone, a novel. He lives in Cody, Wyoming.
An old rancher reluctantly takes in his daughter-in-law and granddaughter in this moving and well-crafted, if rather derivative, second novel by Spragg (The Fruit of Stone). Jean Gilkyson hasn't been back to her hometown of Ishawooa, Wyo., since her husband, Griffin, died in a car accident. Jean was driving, and Griffin's father, Einar, has never forgiven her for his son's death. Ten years and four boyfriends later, Jean has run out of money and options. With her precocious nine-year-old daughter, Griff, she escapes boyfriend number four, a smirking brute named Roy. Einar isn't happy to see mother or daughter, but Griff loves his log house and ranch life. She makes friends right away with Mitch, Einar's old Vietnam War buddy, who's been mauled by a grizzly and is horribly scarred, and gradually wins over her grandfather. Meanwhile, Jean is charming the town sheriff, which comes in handy when Roy tracks her down. Spragg's spare storytelling is rock solid, but he covers well-worn territory in language familiar to readers of Cormac McCarthy and Kent Haruf, never quite striking off on his own. Agent, Nancy Stauffer Cahoon. (Sept.) Forecast: A Miramax film version of the novel starring Jennifer Lopez and Robert Redford will be released in December 2004; if it's a hit, it could move lots of books. First printing 75,000; 11-city author tour; BOMC featured alternate, Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Single mom Jean Gilkyson, whose husband died when she was pregnant, feels compelled to flee an abusive boyfriend. But the only place she can go is the Wyoming home of a father-in-law who despises her. From the author of the celebrated memoir Where Rivers Change Direction; with an 11-city author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Elegantly and crisply written * Daily Telegraph *
In this evocative novel, Spragg [uses] the grandeur of the American landscape to provide a haunting backdrop for the drama of his characters' lives * Daily Mail *
A beautifully crafted piece of fiction * Boston Globe *
A meticulously assembled and highly polished piece of work * Spectator *
'Spragg's idiomatic prose hums with the raw poetry of the natural world' Observer