Painted Horses

Painted Horses

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her--a canyon "as deep as the devil's own appetites." Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar--the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there's John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army's last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman's vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, c2014.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780802121646
0802121640
Characteristics: 370 p.

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StephenFoster
Oct 22, 2017

A brilliant novel, set in the American west but not a genre "western." Instead, it's about a young archeologist accepting her first professional job in America's west (l950s). She tries to protect ancient canyon art showing "painted horses", from plans to inundate the sacred area with a reservoir. She learns much about herself and a young horseman who befriends her. Rich, descriptive writing and mature themes.

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EmilyEm
Aug 07, 2015

We're transported to 1950s Montana when Catherine Lemay is hired to do an archeological survey of a canyon set to be flooded for a power project.
While there is much to commend in Brooks’s Painted Horses, lush writing, characters with interesting back stories and a compelling story line with many twists and turns, in the end I just wanted to be done with it. A sparer story without all the asides and the stereotype good guys and bad guys was what I wished for. You could see this ending coming pages and pages before it happened.

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posie12
Jun 04, 2015

Good story.

DPLheather Mar 04, 2015

A good Western without stereotyping. Combines archaeology, WWII, and Montana, plus a beautiful and believable love story.

ChristchurchLib Sep 17, 2014

In the 1950s, archeologist Catherine Lemay heads to Montana as a member of the River Basin Survey, tasked with searching for evidence of indigenous human habitation in a canyon soon to be inundated by the flood waters generated by a proposed hydroelectric dam. When Catherine realizes that her guide, Jack Allen, may have been hired by the power company to lead her astray, she enlists a Crow Indian woman named Miriam as her assistant and finds an unexpected ally in reclusive horseman John H, whose intimate knowledge of the terrain masks his tragic life story. Historical Fiction September 2014 Newsletter.

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caj1222204441801
Aug 06, 2014

a very intriguing book about the old ways and new ways clashing over the building of a dam with artifacts. the characters are vivid and the plot is exciting. a great book.

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