Nine Below Zero
By Kevin Canty
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375707995, 384pp.)
Publication Date: September 5, 2000
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From the acclaimed author of A Stranger in this World and Into the Great Wide Open comes a novel that explores reckless love and penetrates the unrelenting winter landscape of the American West.
Marvin Deernose, a Native American carpenter and recovering alcoholic, has just returned to his Montana hometown with hopes of finding a new start. Early one snowy morning, Marvin notices an overturned Cadillac down an embankment. After rescuing the elderly Senator Henry Neihart, who has just suffered a stroke, Marvin is invited to the Senator's estate where he is immediately drawn to Justine Gallego, the Senator's wayward, unhappily married granddaughter. As these tarnished souls recognize their profound, shared attraction, they dive headlong into a dangerous and intense affair that forever alters the course of their lives.
Kevin Canty lives in Montana.
"Given Canty's fondness for the American loner and the lonely landscape of the American West, it's no wonder that his latest novel is set in rural Montana in winter, or that his two principal characters--and ex-Senator's granddaughter and a Native American carpenter--share nothing but a sense of isolation in their respective worlds. Tragedy unites them, and, caught in the narrow judgment of a small town, they are surprised to discover that sometimes solace requires someone else. --The New Yorker
"Canty's forte is to examine human relationships with the precision of a Sue Miller or Louise Erdrich within the context of a fast-moving narrative. Once he's got you in his thrall, you're as helpless as his lovers in the hands of fate." --Newsday
"A brilliant second novel that confirms the arrival of a major new talent in fiction." --Minneapolis Star-Tribune