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Our Savage

A Novel

List Price: $15.00

June 14, 2005 | Paperback |  6 x 9, 288 Pages | ISBN 9781593760670
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"Most authors are lucky to find one or two memorable images in a work. In Pavelich's, they stretch like Tiffany baubles, brilliant and gleaming, across each page." —Washington Post Book World

In 1865 a baby—too large a baby to pass through anyone’s hips—is born to a couple at the crumbling edge of Europe. This is the boy who will be known and feared variously as Danilo Lazich, Vuk Hajduk, Daniel, and then Danny Savage. By any measure too large, our hero can develop no patience for his determined, dinky fellows. The problem remains the same—he is by one means and another continually wearing out his welcome.

When Branko Prpa offers Savage a ticket to America, it comes at a price: Savage must take for a wife and traveling companion Prpa’s daughter Stoja. After completing their marriage vows on snow-covered ground, Savage remarks, “We are nothing to each other but a way out. Once we’re shut of this, you can quit me at any time, sister.” Stoja replies, “I am not your sister.” Family ties, it turns out, will be as complicated and inevitable as Danny Savage’s large size.

In America in 1899, the country’s mining camps are running full-throttle, and companies are laying down steel as fast as they can. An American by nature not by birth, riding atop a train into Montana, Savage savors what he’s always dreamt of: endless possibility. Instinct, intellect and force of will enable him to rise above the motley assortment of immigrant coal workers, and he lays claim to a larger piece of the action. In a rough corner of Wyoming, high up in the Great American Desert, Danny Savage finds room, at last, to fully express himself.

About Matt Pavelich

MATT PAVELICH’s short story collection Beasts of the Forest, Beasts of the Field won the Montana First Book Award. Our Savage is his first novel. He currently lives in Pago Pago, American Samoa.


“Most authors are lucky to find one or two memorable images in a work. In Pavelich’s, they stretch like Tiffany baubles, brilliant and gleaming, across each page.” —Washington Post Book World

“This tale of a gentle giant is a rapturous and remarkable look at both the failing of European power and the settlement of the West in the early twentieth century.” —Booklist

“This striking, perplexing first novel is made up of stories that swirl around its strange protagonist and his picturesque adventures. . . . Pavelich’s stylistic flourishes and cunning vignettes give the novel flair.” —Publishers Weekly

“Our Savage is an extraordinary book, more Continental than American. The startling perceptions remind me of Jean Giono. I don’t know anything like it in our literature. . . . Matt Pavelich is uncommonly vital and original.” —Evan S. Connell, author of The Diary of a Rapist

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