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Starred Review. In his seventh novel, Olmstead (Coal Black Horse) delivers another richly characterized, tightly woven story of nature, inevitability and the human condition. In 1916, the aging Napoleon Childs assembles a cavalry to search for the elusive bandit Pancho Villa in Mexico. The ragtag group includes Napoleon's brother, Xenophon, and America's eager export of losers, deadbeats, cutthroats, dilettantes, and murderers. Riding on horseback for months at a time, Napoleon finds himself and his men always just a few hours behind Villa, whose posse navigates the unforgiving terrain with ease. When a band of marauders descend upon the group, many of Napoleon's men are brutally slaughtered and Napoleon himself is left beaten and emotionally broken. After the attack, Napoleon proclaims to his brother that the person he was died out there. But this revelation doesn't last long, and soon Napoleon sets out on yet another date with destiny on the open plains with his followers. Reminiscent of Kent Haruf, Olmstead's brilliantly expressive, condensed tale of resilience and dusty determination flows with the kind of literary cadence few writers have mastered. (May)
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Described by the Dallas Morning News as a "thinking-reader's western," Olmstead's latest novel, which features some characters from Coal Black Horse, is not for the faint of heart. Still, critics were riveted by this gruesome, bloodcurdling, and thoroughly masculine book, where women are virtually nonexistent and war is a constant, prevailing theme. Critics hailed Far Bright Star as a tightly woven tale with terse, dispassionate prose, characteristics that may also be used to describe the laconic Napoleon. Reviewers also compared Olmstead favorably to acclaimed novelist Cormac McCarthy (The Road). Only the Oregonian felt that the novel was "over-written" and "congested" in parts. But overall, Far Bright Star is a masterful, mesmerizing portrait of one man facing oblivion.See all Editorial Reviews
Far Bright Star is the story of a small U.S. Army cavalry detachment in Mexico during the 1916-1917 Pancho Villa Expedition (which was prompted by the raid of the Mexican... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Marcus
I love Mr. Olmsteads style, I even had 2 men read it and they agree, good story line, given in such a way the reader feels like they are there------although, I'm glad I wasn't :)Published 15 months ago by Norma M.
How did I get so lucky as to come across this novel? I did not know what pleasure I was in for. Tight, powerful, spare prose that knocked me under--I didn't want to come up for... Read morePublished 23 months ago by noname
This may be a short book but it's one full of emotion and one that makes you question life and the things that happen. Read morePublished on September 1, 2013 by Josue
One of my favorite authors and another great and compelling book by him. His way with our language has few equalsPublished on May 26, 2013 by RF
He is an amazing writer. He stuns you and jolts you but he has a way with words he grabs your attention and your riveted.
He truly is a word smith.His work is incredible.
FAR BRIGHT STAR It is too graphic in depicting the brutal killings...unbelievably gruesome. But his writing is like poetry, and you cannot put his books down.Published on December 19, 2012 by hg