The Wake of Forgiveness

The Wake of Forgiveness

3.64 (864 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Reminiscent of Kent Haruf and Cormac McCarthy, Bruce Machart's debut novel is a dark family saga set in the American Southwest. 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 son, Karel. The boy 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. From an early age, Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked horseraces against his neighbors. 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 brothers' futures, and his own fate.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 309 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 748.42g
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • English
  • 0151014434
  • 9780151014439
  • 1,166,017

Review quote

"A mesmerizing, mythic saga..."--"New York Times""In his luminous and wrenching tale of four motherless brothers, Machart skillfully evokes the rural Texas landscape..."--"Entertainment Weekly""Bruce Machart has penned a dazzling, gratifying tale of retribution, redemption and morality."--"San Antonio Express News""This is pure literature; an emphasis on language over plot; risky, complex and often unlikable characters and that echo, that ripple that flows forward into the future and backward into myth."--"Los Angeles Times""Such evocative prose helps make Machart's novel a standout this year, in any genre."--"Cleveland Plain Dealer""Machart writes fine idiomatic dialogue and unwinds textured details of farm life, horse racing, and the vagaries of the weather."--"Houston Chronicle""The big state of Texas is home to many good writers, and the arrival of Bruce Machart's debut novel shows there's always room for one more."--"Dallas Morning News""Machart's prose is so evocative that you can smell the men's cheap tobacco and corn mash, feel the bare, hard-packed earth from which they coax crops. Their dialogue, rural south Texas vernacular, is spare, gnarled and often funny. In addition to the violence, betrayals and cruelty of an old-fashioned western, "The Wake of Forgiveness" also finds redemption ..."--"Wall Street Journal
""This intense, fast-paced debut novel is hard to put down. 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. Enthusiastically recommended."--STARRED, LIBRARY JOURNAL..". [an] accomplished debut ... 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."--STARRED, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY"The Wake of Forgiveness impressed me on many levels. The prose is polished and evocative, the phys
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Flap copy

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. From an early age, Karel proves so talented on horseback that his father enlists him to ride in acreage-staked races against his neighbors. But Karel is forever haunted by thoughts of the mother he never knew and 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 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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Back cover copy

"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. What a fine, rich, absorbing book."--Tim O'Brien, author of "The Things They Carried"
"In his richly told novel, The Wake of Forgiveness, Bruce Machart tells a story of fathers and sons that stretches wide across the Texas landscape, leaving behind its own beautiful wake of remembrance, inheritance, and the unbreakable bonds of family."--Hannah Tinti, "The Good Thief
""If Evan S. Connell, William Faulkner, and Norman Maclean had been born as one person, he might possess the extraordinary gifts of Bruce Machart. The Wake of Forgiveness is a wild, God-forsaken cry delivered in language so lush we cannot stop listening. The dazzling velocity of Machart's prose bears a tale redemptive and resonant as myth, insistent and intimate as breath in the body."--Melanie Rae Thon, author of "Sweet Hearts"
"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
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Rating details

864 ratings
3.64 out of 5 stars
5 23% (202)
4 36% (309)
3 28% (238)
2 9% (76)
1 5% (39)

Our customer reviews

It took me a long time to read this book by debut author, Bruce Machart. I handpick my recommendations in this new format of reviews and, while the recommendation of The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a no-brainer, the other two took a bit more thought. Like my experience with The Road, this book had me flipping back and forth to remember details. I couldn't just read a chapter and then move on, most of the time I'd have to go back and re-read large sections of it to make sure I understood what was happening. The story is a powerful one. It begins with the death of a woman as she delivers her fourth child, a boy. It deals with the harsh treatment of a father's sons and the gentling influence of wives and mothers. It paints a stark, real picture of Texas and the politics between families and race. It's a beautifully written book, but the prose is written with such a heavy hand it's almost suffocating in points. This isn't a book to sit down with for a light read, you need to set aside time to really devote to it and to be content to read it in small portions, if needed, so - like me - you don't find yourself lost and going back to re-read. If you are a Cormac McCarthy fan - this book should greatly appeal to you.show more
by Lydia Presley
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