The Wake of Forgiveness
By Bruce Machart
(Mariner Books, Paperback, 9780547521947, 309pp.)
Publication Date: June 2011
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
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.
- The book opens with Karel’s birth, which is also the occasion of his mother’s death. How does this change the family dynamic? How does it introduce the themes of guilt and shame and how do you see these themes continue throughout the book?