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Stolen Horses (Flyover Fiction)by Dan Obrien
Synopses & Reviews
For more than forty years the prairies of South Dakota have been Dan OBriens home. Working as a writer and an endangered-species biologist, he became convinced that returning grass-fed, free-roaming buffalo to the grasslands of the northern plains would return natural balance to the region and reestablish the undulating prairie lost through poor land management and overzealous farming. In 1998 he bought his first buffalo and began the task of converting a little cattle ranch into an ethically run buffalo ranch.
Wild Idea is a book about how good food choices can influence federal policies and the integrity of our food system, and about the dignity and strength of a legendary American animal. It is also a book about people: the daughter coming to womanhood in a hard landscape, the friend and ranch hand who suffers great tragedy, the venture capitalist who sees hope and opportunity in a struggling buffalo business, and the husband and wife behind the ranch who struggle daily, wondering if what they are doing will ever be enough to make a difference. At its center, Wild Idea is about a family and the people and animals that surround them—all trying to build a healthy life in a big, beautiful, and sometimes dangerous land.
"Interconnected lives in the small western Nebraska town of McDermot navigate the rocky transition from rustic old ways to new money opportunities and opportunists in the slow-burning latest from O'Brien (Buffalo for the Broken Heart). As the two Thurston brothers--Bob, a self-pitying Vietnam vet, and Steve, an ambitionless carpenter--stand by helplessly while their father sells the family ranch to wealthy lawyer John Tully, Steve's single-mother girlfriend, local newspaper reporter Gretchen Harris, catches wind of a scandal at the local medical clinic. Meanwhile, the Thurston brothers' cousin, Carl Lindquist, a literature professor, returns to town after 30 years' absence to buy a swath of land and settle down, and Erwin Benson, the oldest serving district attorney in the state of Nebraska, is facing a possible re-election campaign against slick newcomer Tully. In excruciatingly gradual increments, O'Brien teases out the entanglements in these relationships; though it's painfully slow at times, once the narrative pieces click into place, the story takes on a stoic urgency as it digs into the raw divide between the old guard and the new. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Willa Cather said that O Pioneers! was her first authentic novel, “the first time I walked off on my own feet—everything before was half real and half an imitation of writers whom I admired.” Cathers novel of life on the Nebraska frontier established her reputation as a writer of great note and marked a significant turning point in her artistic development. No longer would she let literary convention guide the form of her writing; the materials themselves would dictate the structure.
Cathers O Pioneers! is the sentimental and somewhat controversial story of the Bergsons, a family of Swedish pioneers that settles for life on the American prairie. While Alexandra, the family matriarch, is able to turn the family farm into a financial success, her brother Emil must grapple with the solace and tragedy of forbidden love. A novel surprisingly ahead of its time, this protofeminist work touches on a wide range of enduring themes, including love, marriage, temptation, and isolation.
McDermot, Nebraska, is a pleasant, scenic western cattle town situated in the Pawnee River valley—just the place for people seeking refuge from their hectic city lives. It is also just the place for those who have made their homes on this haunting prairie since the late nineteenth century. Ideal for both, McDermot means everything to those native inhabitants and something very different to those who are looking for a new life.
As the native residents wrestle with the arrival of outsiders, a local journalist uncovers a medical scandal epitomizing the problems facing the divided community. After the death of two men, it falls to the ancient but powerful district attorney to mediate a resolution between the clashing interests of the new and the old West. And the Thurston family, descended from the towns first citizen, sets out in its own way to fight the forces threatening to destroy it. This is the story of new and old interests colliding, of small western plains towns confronting the forces of “progress.”
About the Author
Dan OBrien is the author of numerous novels and memoirs, including Buffalo for the Broken Heart and The Contract Surgeon, winners of the Western Heritage Award for best nonfiction in 2001 and for best fiction in 1999, respectively. Buffalo for the Broken Heart was the One Book South Dakota selection for 2009. Equinox: Life, Love, and Birds of Prey, is available in a Bison Books edition.
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