“Exquisite … The historical detail is immaculate, the landscape exquisitely drawn; the prose is hard, muscular, more convincingly Cormac McCarthy than McCarthy himself”


This second novel from the author takes us to the Wild West of the 1890’s , and like her previous novel The Tigers Wife has a whiff of fantasy to the story.

The book mainly follows 2 people, Lurie is a former outlaw who now rides a camel around the west.  He can see ghosts and is sometimes in contact with them.

Nora is the wife of a newspaper man and has 3 living boys.  Her only daughter died. There are 2 other people living in her household, Josie who has psychic tendencies and her paralyzed mother in law.

The two stories are totally separate for most of the book.  The basic story in Nora is alone with her young son, Laurie and the mother in law.  Her husband has gone looking for water because of a draught and her 2 older sons have simply gone off
The youngest son becomes increasingly unsettled as he claims to see a mysterious beast around their property. There are other storylines on the book but all will center upon a the two main characters and their inevitable meeting.

It took me awhile to follow the constant change of the characters stories as the chapters are split to constantly change the focus from one to another.  Also there are 3 narrators.

Once you get a grip as to what is going on in the story then it becomes a fascinating look at the severe hardships those that lived out west in small population areas endured.  Put a camel in there which most people had never seen just tops it off.  The army actually had a corps of them at one point to be used in the arid areas out there.

While maybe not quite as good as The Tigers Wife, it is still a strong book, effectively written by an author whom will be amongst the top in her profession some day.   Recommended!


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 15th February 2020

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Richard Franco