5.0 out of 5 stars
Nasty, brutish, and thoroughly enjoyable., Aug. 28 2012
I was instantly drawn into the narrative by Eli’s directness and the 19th century Western dialect. He is accused by other characters of having poetic tendencies, and this is true. I found his relationship to Tub -- his inadequate and eventually blinded horse -- touching. Tub is the lesser horse (compared to Eli’s brother’s horse Nimble) in the same way that Eli is the lesser killer (compared to his sociopathic brother Charlie). Eli’s feelings for Tub mirror his own self-doubt as well as his longing for kindness, understanding, and forgiveness.
The tale is nasty, brutish, and at times humouress. Many critics have mentioned a likeness to the Western stories of Elmore Leonard. Initially, I was reminded of Jesse Bullington’s “The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart,” although early similarities disappear by the novel’s conclusion.
The cover design by Dan Stiles is amazing and enhanced my enjoyment of reading the trade paperback rather than an e-version.