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Le Sillage De L'oubli (2010)

by Bruce Machart(Favorite Author)
3.64 of 5 Votes: 4
review 1: After reading a string of lack-luster books, I was delighted by the power of this book.While brutal, blunt, and sometimes difficult to read (because of subject matter, not because it was verbose/bad/hard to understand), the novel weaves a powerful narrative of an abused boy and his three brothers in early 1900's "Wild West" Texas. For me, the book was a perfect blend of action, character development, two family histories embroiled in drama over land, and "a horse story" (i.e. my perfect blend). Machart crafts a complex and fascinating character in Karel Skala, and you immediately develop a love hate relationship with this man after watching his coming of age while living in the shadow of his abusive father, motherless childhood and hard lifestyle. However, Karel finds sola... morece in his suffering amongst his three brother, as misery does love company. Karel's only other escape is racing on horseback, and his father has utilized this talent to acquire parcels of land over time. Through a series of twists and turns and a horse race on south against a wealthy Spanish land baron and his three, Karel suddenly finds himself brother-less, landless and loveless.The book flips between Karel's past as a young boy, showing the development of Karel over time, and to the present, when he becomes a father struggling with the inner-demons of his father, his brothers, and that fateful horse race. Main themes of the novel include coming of age, mother-child/father-child relationships and the role of women.I highly recommend Machart's masterpiece. This is easily one of my favorite new novels, and it was absolutely delicious to read due to the language and skill of Machart's craft. A must-have, save-forever on the shelf beautifully crafted novel for the period piece lover or horse lover.
review 2: Quite a few people have reviewed this book already, so I will limit myself to a few specific observations. I have rated this book four stars, which is a high grade for fiction from me since there is so much utter crap out there.My own tastes run to tales of the collapse of people's hopes and dreams and the bleak existence that comes with adulthood (think Ethan Frome - I am a lot of fun at parties), so The Wake of Forgiveness was right up my alley.A number of people have compared Machart to McCarthy and I have to agree. However, I see McCarthy as more of a prose minimalist, while Machart veers in the opposite direction, never using one adjective when three will do, and piling on the metaphors and similes. That's OK, but I can see why some reviewers think this is a bit overwritten. (I also note that one reviewer believes comparing Machart to McCarthy identifies me as "coastal, urban, and effete"; I guess I have to take my medicine...)I confess I had a hard time completely understanding the central plot element. Why did Villasnor approach Skala for his sons' hands in marriage in the first place? What made this weird and bitter family stand out from any other in the region, especially since Villasnor is portrayed as wealthy, powerful, and ambitious? My gut feeling is that he would have looked for more promising matches for his daughters.Another curiosity for me was that all the horse races were run at night, the racecourse lit by bonfires. Now, to be sure, this added greatly to the atmosphere and mood of these events, but it does strike me as odd that this community of hard bitten Texas farmers would have willingly participated in something so bizarre as racing horses in the dark.But over all, I loved The Wake of Forgiveness. The characters were compelling, and the sense of time and place vivid. I read it straight through in a single weekend, staying up late in bed and then continuing as soon as I woke up the next morning. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this promising author. less
Reviews (see all)
Wonderful way with wordsCompellingly told story of family and its ties and complexities
Stickes in your mind. Harsh life of the western settlement depicted.
I really wanted to like it but unfortunately I did not.
It certainly helped with my insomnia....
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