The Wake of Forgiveness: Book summary and reviews of The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart

The Wake of Forgiveness

by Bruce Machart

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart X
The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart
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Book Summary

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 boy, Karel. From an early age Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked horseraces against his neighbors.

But Karel 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. 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."

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 brother's futures, and his own fate. 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 to salvage the tattered fabric of his family.

Reminiscent of Kent Haruf's portrayals of hope amidst human heartbreak and Cormac McCarthy's finely hewn evocations of the American Southwest, Bruce Machart's striking debut is as well wrought as it is riveting. It compels us to consider the inescapable connections between sons and their mothers, between landscape and family, and between remembrance and redemption.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Machart's moving story unfolds lyrically and sensually, with little fanfare, as his thoughtful prose propels a character-driven story about family, morality, and redemption. " - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Machart's hard-hitting style is sure to capture fans of Cormac McCarthy and Jim Harrison. We can only hope for more exceptional fiction from this very talented writer." - Library Journal

"Though he navigates erratically within it, Machart has created a dense, vibrant world, achievement enough for his debut." - Kirkus

"The Wake of Forgiveness impressed me on many levels. 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. At the heart of this remarkable novel is a question that is both age old and completely modern: Who am I? What a fine, rich, absorbing book." - Tim O'Brien

This information about The Wake of Forgiveness was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Bruce Marchart's fiction has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Glimmer Train, Story, One-Story, and elsewhere, and has been anthologized in Best Stories of the American West. A graduate of the MFA program at Ohio State University, he currently lives and teaches in Houston.

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