To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Painted Horses Hardcover – August 5, 2014
|New from||Used from|
Everything We Keep: A Novel
On the day of her wedding, she buried her fiancé—and unearthed shocking secrets. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: It’s tempting to dismiss Malcolm Brooks’s debut as the latest in a series of American epics treading on Cormac McCarthy territory: The Son, Fourth of July Creek, and The Kept come to mind as recent novels dealing with the darker realities of frontiers, both geographical and personal. Like The Son, Painted Horses positions itself at the moment the frontier era gives way to modernity: in mid-century Montana, a dam project threatens to flood a canyon historically inhabited by Native Americans, submerging thousands of years of Crow history under hundreds of feet of slack water. When the inexperienced Catherine Lemay is appointed to survey the canyon for cultural evidence that could thwart the dam-builders, she assumes one corner of a Faustian triangle with a scheming hydroelectric shill and the mysterious John H., a rugged, reticent horse whisperer who opens the secrets of the country to the young archaeologist. Tangled relationships, difficult decisions, and hard compromises ensue. Decades and continents are spanned, and history unfolds. Maybe we’ve read this before?
But dismissing Painted Horses for its Western tropes would ignore just how good this book is. Brooks's prose is stylistically bold, announcing his artistic aspirations from the opening sentence. His characters are carefully drawn, yet their intentions remain ambiguous enough to be authentically human. His Montana is vivid, wild, and broad, and it’s obvious that Brooks lives where he writes, and loves where he lives. Ultimately, Brooks accomplishes no small feat in this remarkable debut: a tale of literary ambition that lives comfortably inside its genre roots, but not by its conventions.--Jon Foro
Top Customer Reviews
It's one of those big sprawling stories that stretched across two continents and three decades. The novel contained lots of background stories in order to get the characterizations just right, yet the author managed expertly to focus all that detail on only what was necessary to support the love story at its core.
The key action takes place in the summer of 1956. The setting is a massive, 50-mile-long canyon in Montana's incredible badlands. A power company plans to build a dam across the canyon to generate hydroelectric power. The dam is controversial. Some locals look forward to the new jobs and modern lifestyle that the dam promises; others are disturbed about the potential loss of sacred ancient native sites. Before the power company can start work, they need to get an archeologist to examine the canyon to make sure the water behind the dam will not flood anything historically significant. The archeologist chosen for the assignment is Catherine Lamay, a 23-year-old graduate with no field experience whatsoever in Western archeology or ancient Native American artifacts. She has only a few weeks to complete her assignment. She's eager to begin and highly motivated to do a thorough job.Read more ›
But, I can't get away with that, can I? So, here I go: Trying to share it with you:
I love the way this author writes. He writes what his mind is thinking. He ignores proper punctuation and sentence structure if the thought demands it. Don't interpret this to mean that the book is hard to read. No, it is not. Definitely not. It took me a few pages to get into the flow of it, then my reading took off flying.
It's a great story about a young woman, recently out of a top college in the East and now into the workplace as an archaeologist for the Smithsonian. She is full of herself after returning from a coveted archaeological assignment in London. Now, she's out of her element and into the wild expanse of Montana. She walks naively into Power, with a capital P in more ways than one: Big money, big business, mean, controlling, dominant men without a speck of respect and no consciences.
Disillusionment follows--big time. Anger and frustration and a sense of futility almost break her. But she digs her heals in, hires on a young Indian girl to help her, and tries to find evidence that will prevent the building of a hydroelectric dam and the flooding of a sacred canyon.
It's also a great story about a man, somewhat older--and wiser--than the woman; he is one with the wild mustangs and the canyon. His life is not an easy one, and necessity and common sense have him breaking laws before he's out of his teens. He also lives to paint pictures of horses.
Her story; his story; the overlapping of their stories: That is this story, and it is a fine one.
You should not miss it.Read more ›
There are several strong characters that the author brings to life and one of them is the land on which the story is created. Montana.. the old west and the now west. It is mystical and brutal as are the people who inhabit it. Catherine Lemay as a very young archaeologist who is tapped by the Smithsonian to be part of River Basin Surveys to see if there is anything of historical value in a canyon that the power company wants to flood for a new dam. It doesn't take her long to realize that the Harris Power and Light wants her there, young and untested ,so they can manipulate her toward rubber stamping the project and then they can build their dam and make their money. They found out they picked the wrong woman.
There are two very strong male leads, John H. and Jack Allen. At first, the reader has to wonder who the love interest is going to be. One I took an instant dislike to, the other, I wasn't quite sure what he was, hero or a lost soul from a different time. The story weaves itself between the woman, these two men and the animals that live on seemingly desolate land. Finally Catherine gives her heart to one and comes close to losing her life because of something she finds of great importance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So self-consciously "literary" and with such poor character development that its grandiose pretensions destroy what could have been an interesting, if much smaller story. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
Why isn't this book on the New York Times Best-Seller list?? I thought it was well written, insightful, and thought-provoking. I loved Mr. Brooks' descriptions and metaphors. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeannie
Interesting with some notable historical points of interest. Yet at times confusing to follow as it changed from present to the past.Published 1 month ago by Judyann
I live in Billings, Montana so the history, geography, topography, flora and fauna are completely familiar. The story was wonderful! The description and structure is excellent. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carolyn Clark
Painted Horses started out good, lots of back story about the two main characters. I could visualize the West as it was in the 50's. It held my interest up until the very end. Read morePublished 3 months ago by R. Stagel
I was so disappointed in this book. Too many details, too much descriptions. I couldn't wait to finally get to the end. I sure wouldn't recommend it to anyone.Published 4 months ago by Kathy Miles