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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at http://www.magdalenaball.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Bewrite Books (February 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1927086469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1927086469
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,440,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at http://www.magdalenaball.com

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Famolari TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Archers are ensnared in the golden chains of their affluent life style: designer clothes, an expensive home, luxury cars, private schools for the children; and it's killing them.

Black Cow is a beautiful story of changing gears in midlife. On the surface, James and Freya have everything. But their world has turned upside down. The recession has hit both their industries, James , the CEO, has to lay people off. Freda can't sell expensive houses. Finally, health concerns, their failing marriage and out of control children force then to reevaluate what constitutes happiness.

Ball presents a sensitive picture of a family struggling to stay together and find fulfillment. The characters are well drawn and believable, the kind of people you know. They could be your family. This beautifully crafted story explores the question of whether changing your life can bring the happiness you seek. You can change where you are, but you can't change who you are, or can you? Can you get back to being the person you once were?

I highly recommend this book. It presents a modern dilemma in very readable terms that will allow you to look at how one family solves their problem. It could change your life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joan Schweighardt on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most people don't simply wake up one morning and realize that they've veered away from their ideals and set themselves squarely in the middle of the path leading back to them. In reality such an awakening is gradual, fueled by series of seemingly disconnected incidents; and the road back, if one can even get there, is more like a game of Giant Steps than a straight trajectory. BLACK COW examines the possibility of lifestyle change through the actions of the Archer family. Fast-paced, gorgeously-written and stunningly perceptive, BLACK COW is not only a great read; it is a timely and important one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Howard-Johnson VINE VOICE on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Magdalena Ball has set a new standard, maybe initiated a new genre. Her Black Cow isn't for the Beat Generation; it's for this millennium's fast-track generation. This is Magdalena Ball's second effort after her mesmerizing first novel Sleep Before Evening and it does not disappoint. Black Cow captures the mind-freezing pace of this digital age before coming up with the most hopeful ending possible. Ball is a new voice and the literary world needs a new one in these days when so called mid-list authors are nearly a thing of the past.
----
The reviewer is a multi award-winning novelist and poet and was named Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Bell on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
Magdalena Ball is a remarkable wordsmith. Her prose hovers above your skin like `need' and never drifts away. Her latest novel, Black Cow, is yet another masterpiece which I will keep treasured on my bookshelf. The characters in this story are on the hunt for happiness, for refuge, clawing their way through the stark reality of unfulfilling wealth, corporate hierarchies, fatigue, stress-related illnesses, and family neglect. Ball's seamless exploration of the faulty human-condition and the urgent notion that money means success is brilliantly interwoven with the gentle quietness of unconditional love, invoking sighs and gasps and the sudden realization that life is so much more than what we are conditioned to expect. Life is precious, and small enough to cradle in the palm of a baby's hand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Elizabeth Powell on September 15, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I was sent this book by the author.

The title, Black Cow, is intriguing but as you read, you understand why. It is a story about a family who make life-changing decisions - ones which are very brave in today's world. It highlights the stresses and strains of modern life and the pressures that couples have to face. I particularly liked the relationship between the siblings - very telling and observant.

Yes, this book is worth a look, even if only to make others see that they too can change their lives if they really want.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cobaltangel on October 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
In this cunningly crafted novel Magdalena Ball takes us to the heart of a family floundering on the brink of self destruction. And it is truly a destruction of self we are watching in painful clarity. The multitude of material goods that clutter their concrete lives is in direct contrast to the idealism and truth of their youth. It is a life they have first chosen, then drifted with, but is now surely choking the essence of their whole family. Magdalena has put a stark mirror to their lives. Freya and Edward are too close to see, but close enough to know fear. It takes time for this fear to have a name. Time for the lifestyle of the parents to implode on not only themselves, but their children.
Essentially, Edward and Freya are in a hell of their own choosing and as a reader we can palpate the pulse of the chaos of their lives. But for all their materialism and struggle, we can see shadows of their former, purer selves - and this compels us to hope for their redemption before they even begin to hope for themselves. These are not two people who we hope hit rock bottom, but we sense strongly that this is precisely the stimulus that will push these two out of the miasma of their illusory success. The disconnection of the family is terrifying. With each stroke Freya forces in the pool, and each entry of Edward into the boardroom as CEO, we sense life out of control, but we become invested in them. These are two people who have a growing sense of loss of self, and we tense with them as they gradually discard old ties and clear away the debris of what once was their sense of achievement and identity.
It is a shedding as painful as the decline, and the authenticity of their journey is never lost in glib phrases or overnight solutions.
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