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On swift horses

by Pufahl, Shannon,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 4 Libraries 4 of 14 copies
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Moon Township Public Library New Books F PUFAHL Shannon
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Summary
"Cinematic . . . The spaces she creates for her characters . . . have the aura of realms." -- The New York Times Book Review

Named a Most Anticipated Book of Fall by The New York Times, Real Simple, Electric Literature, and more.

A lonely newlywed and her wayward brother-in-law follow divergent and dangerous paths through the postwar American West.

Muriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. The air is rich with the tang of salt and citrus, but the limits of her new life seem to be closing in: She misses her freethinking mother, dead before Muriel's nineteenth birthday, and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof, and falling in love with Henry, a young card cheat. When Henry is eventually discovered and run out of town, Julius takes off to search for him in the plazas and dives of Tijuana, trading one city of dangerous illusions and indiscretions for another.

On Swift Horses is a debut of astonishing power: a story of love and luck, of two people trying to find their place in a country that is coming apart even as it promises them everything.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Midway through this debut novel, a transient gambler named Julius gifts his estranged brother, Lee, a horse. Julius buys her believing she's a mustang when in fact she isn't. She seems to be a symbol for the book's two protagonists, Julius and Muriel (Lee's wife), both of whom are caught between the norms of postwar California life and queer desire. Fearing she is merely a wife, Muriel pursues independence at the racetrack, winning big and using her sense of power to begin exploring bars, hotels, and other sites of clandestine passion. On the run from his sexuality, Julius heads to Nevada, falls in love with a card shark, and then follows his lover to the back rooms of Mexico's border cities, gambling at card tables and in late-night encounters. Pufahl's prose is lush and slow with the romance of emotion and the postwar frontier. Her dialogue is sparse and pointed, every word deliberately spoken. On Swift Horses is a queer Western for an utterly contemporary audience.--Maggie Taft Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Pufahl's powerful debut follows two brothers just back from the Korean War and the woman from Kansas who loves them both. Muriel agrees to marry Lee not long after he and his brother, Julius, step off their ship in Long Beach, but it's Julius with whom she finds a haunting affinity. When he disappears, both Muriel and Lee live for word from him again. Muriel and Julius are gamblers; Muriel overhears horse betting tips from men who drink at the Heyday Lounge in San Diego where she works. Muriel wins enough at the Del Mar racetrack to buy her husband the lot on which he builds their dream house. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Julius falls in love with Henry, a tender card cheat who's run out of town. Desperate to find him, Julius returns to his brother's house, steals money from Muriel, and goes in search of him. Muriel, in turn, searches for Julius, and finds herself instead. SoCal's illicit gay joints, Mexico, and memories of Kansas are finely wrought, though by the time Muriel discovers that the mystery Julius represents actually resides deep inside her own self, Pufahl's gorgeous metaphors and heartbreaking revelations may make readers feel like less is more. Peopled by singular characters and suffused with a keen sense of time and place, Pufahl's debut casts a fascinating spell. This melancholy story will show up in the dreams of those whose heartstrings it has tugged. (Nov.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Married women -- Fiction.
Gay men -- Fiction.
Horse racing -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2019
Language English
Description 306 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780525538110
0525538119
Other Classic View