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An Unfinished Life: A Novelby Mark Spragg
Synopses & Reviews
One of the truest and most original new voices in American letters, as Kent Haruf has written, Mark Spragg now tells the story of a complex, prodigal homecoming. Jean Gilkyson is floundering in a trailer house in Iowa with yet another brutal boyfriend when she realizes this kind of life has got to stop, especially for the sake of her daughter, Griff. But the only place they can run to is Ishawooa, Wyoming, where Jean's loved ones are dead and her father in law, the only person who could take them in, wishes that she was too. For a decade, Einar Gilkyson has blamed her for the accident that took his son's life, and he has chosen to go on living himself largely because his oldest friend couldn't otherwise survive. They've been bound together like brothers since the Korean War and now face old age on a faltering ranch, their intimacy even more acute after Mitch was horribly crippled while Einar helplessly watched. Of course, ten year old Griff knows none of this-only that her father is dead and her mother has bad taste in men. But once she encounters this grandfather she'd never heard about, and the black cowboy confined to the bunkhouse, with irrepressible courage and great spunk she attempts to turn grievous loss, wrath, and recrimination to which she's naturally the most vulnerable toward reconciliation and love. Immediately compelling and constantly surprising, rich in character, landscape, and compassion, An Unfinished Life shows a novelist of extraordinary talents in the fullness of his powers.
Seeking to escape her brutal boyfriend and hoping to introduce her daughter, Griff, to the grandfather she has never met, widow Jean Gilkyson seeks refuge in her late husband's Wyoming hometown with her estranged father-in-law, who blames her for his son's death. Reader's Guide available. 75,000 first printing.
In an extraordinary tale of love and forgiveness, Mark Spragg brings us this novel of a complex, prodigal homecoming. After escaping the last of a long string of abusive boyfriends, Jean Gilkyson and herten-year-old daughter Griff have nowhere left to go. Nowhere except Ishawooa, Wyoming, where Jean's estranged father-in-law, Einar, still blames her for the death of his son. Though Einar isn't glad to see eitherof them, Griff falls in love with his sprawling ranch and quiet way of life, as she slowly gets to know his crippled old friend Mitch, the cats that lurk in the barn at milking time, and finally the grandfather she hadlost for so many years. An emotionally charged story of hard-won friendship and reconciliation, An Unfinished Life shows a novelist of extraordinary talents in the fullness of hispowers.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Mark Spragg is the author of Where Rivers Change Direction, a memoir that won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award, and The Fruit of Stone, a novel. Both were top-ten Book Sense selections and have been translated into seven languages. He lives in Cody, Wyoming.
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