Synopses & Reviews
An unforgettable story of men and horses, the American West, and the dream of a ticket out * A May 2012 Indie Next Pick *
Will Testerman is a young Wyoming horse trainer determined to make something of himself. Money is tight at the family ranch, where he's living again after a disastrous end to his job on the Texas show-horse circuit. He sees his chance with a beautiful quarter horse, a filly that might earn him a reputation, and spends his savings to buy her.
Armed with stories and the confidence of youth, he devotes himself to her training—first, in the familiar barns and corrals of home, then on a guest ranch in the rugged Absaroka mountains, and, in the final trial, on the glittering, treacherous polo fields of southern California.
With Boleto, Alyson Hagy delivers a masterfully told, exquisitely observed novel about our intimate relationships with animals and money, against the backdrop of a new West that is changing forever.
"A restless young cowboy bets it all on a horse he raises from filly to mare in Hagy's (Ghosts of Wyoming) beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. Will Testerman, raised with two brothers on a small ranch in Lost Cabin, Wyo., by a critical father and a mother battling cancer, returns home after a stint grooming show horses in Texas ends in melodramatic disaster. Determined to redeem himself, he spends his hard-earned savings on a 'strong-legged filly with papers' and devotes himself to rearing and training her, despite his doubting father and older, more successful brothers. Once through the Wyoming winter, Will works as a 'corral boss' on a nearby ranch for the summer before going to the esteemed California 'Estanza Flora' ranch to train horses on the polo circuit, a challenging but rewarding job, and where he continues to train and develop his horse. In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents Inc." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[Hagy's] Wyoming is a harsh world, but one shot through with transcendent moments." --The Boston Globe "We're in luck again out west. Alyson Hagy knows our lingo, our lands and people, our heartbreaks and glories, our tragedies and sustaining myths, and how each runs through the other." --William Kittredge "Hagy knows Wyoming well, her stern weathers and defiant beauty and patient ruthlessness. She knows too how this land fashions and tests her ghosts, both living and long gone." --Joy Williams
Praise for Boleto: "[A] beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. . . . In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "With a keen understanding of the New West and in prose so beautiful that it reads like poetry . . . Hagy exquisitely delineates the magnificence of horses and the western landscape even as she pointedly critiques class warfare in the New West." —Booklist (starred review) "To produce a novel as stirring and austerely beautiful as Boleto, a writer must be fluent in the languages of horses, of men, and of the American West. Alyson Hagy has command of all three, and she uses them to masterful effect in these pages." —Larry Watson "Boleto is about the dusty and soulful making of a young horse whisperer; it has the warmth of smooth, copper-colored whisky running through every page, bound and determined to get you drunk with its beauty and precision. Hagy's signature no-nonsense, spit-and-polish writing style pulls no punches in delivering a quiet, lingering novel that will open more space inside you than the expanse of a spring Wyoming sky." —Stacie M. Williams, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) "Alyson Hagy's skill is on sublime display in this beautifully lean, wholly absorbing novel. It's impossible not to fall in love with her flawless and fascinating descriptions of the land, the characters, and my god the horses. This is simply one of the best novels I've read in a long time, and it should not only further solidify Alyson Hagy's already solid reputation, but make undeniably evident the fact that she is one of the best American writers working today." —Brad Watson "Will Testerman is a horse whisperer who journeys from rodeo, to dude ranch, to the polo fields searching for his niche in the world. That sounds simple and classic, but this story of a young cowboy and his horse brings the currents that roil beneath the surface of western calm into the shadowy light of dawn." —Laura DeLaney, Rediscovered Books (Boise, Idaho)
Praise for Boleto
"Good stories teach us how to read them, and the opening pages of Boleto
are entertaining, entrancing teachers. . . . Hagy often dazzles with her descriptions of the Wyoming landscape and wildlife. Whether its the corral of the Testerman ranch, the rugged passes of the Black Bell Ranch or the depressed outskirts of Anaheim, the settings glimmer with well-chosen metaphors." —The New York Times Book Review
"[Hagy] provides an unsentimental portrait of modern-day cowboys. . . . She details each twitch of Boleto's ears in language both acute and lyrical." —The New Yorker
"You come to Boleto
as you would to a ranch or a polo match, for the horses. . . . Will [Testerman] ultimately learns that the pure connection between a cowboy and a horse has no corollary in the world of double-dealing humans. . . . This final discovery is surprisingly touching and bittersweet." —Wall Street Journal
"[A] beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. . . . In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West." —Publishers Weekly
(starred review) "In her gift for the language of horses, as in the beauty of her prose, Hagy will inevitably recall Annie Proulx, Kent Haruf and Cormac McCarthy. But she is writing as much about wealth and class, about work and privilege, as about horses and the Western landscape." —Washington Post
Like many of hte great writers of the West, Alyson Hagy's writing is spare and eloquent. . . . The sweep of the story is reminiscent of artwork, and its solemnity has a nearly religiousintensity." —
Daniel Goldin, Boswell Books, NPR.org
“Hagy follows modern-day Wyoming cowboy Will Testerman on his simple quest: to make his way in the world through his gift for working with horses, and to prove he can spot raw talent by training a quarter horse, bought cheap, into a polo pony he can sell for riches . . . Will himself is an endearing character, everything youd want in a cowboy—honest, forthright, polite, capable, modest, yet not so squeaky clean that he makes your teeth ache. In language that is lucid and true, Hagy tells his story, one that will resound with readers long after Will Testerman rides off into the sunset.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Even if you are not a horse person, Boleto will move your spirit.” —Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Alyson Hagy was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of two previous novels and four collections of stories, most recently Ghosts of Wyoming. She lives and teaches in Laramie, Wyoming.