Lonesome Animals was named as a Best Book of 2012 by both The Seattle Times and Slate, a literary debut sparking with beautiful language set against the rugged landscape of 1920s Washington state. Holbert returns with The Hour of Lead, an epic family novel and coming of age story that is once again imbibed with the mythology of the west.After losing both his twin and his father in a brutal, unexpected snowstorm, Matt Lawson must take over the family ranch. As his mother disappears into grief, Matt learns the hardest lesson the west has to teach: he is on his own. The necessity of work stabilizes young Matt against the pitfalls of first love with Wendy, the daughter of a local grocer, and their ragged end will sent Matt on a journey across the county, leaving Wendy to tend the ranch with local schoolteacher Linda Jefferson and her unwieldy son Lucky. It will take decades for Matt to learn his way back home, and that long journey will have great impact on all of those around him. Invoking the same beautiful landscape and language of his critically-acclaimed debut, The Hour of Lead is a wider, more expansive novel, less violent but just as affecting, another important contribution to the literature of the west.
The Hour of Lead
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BRUCE HOLBERT is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. His work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Hotel Amerika, Other Voices, The Antioch Review, Crab Creek Review, The West Wind Review, and Cairn. Bruce Holbert grew up at the foot of the Okanogan Mountains. His great-grandfather was an Indian scout and among the first settlers of the Grand Coulee.
"Holbert has been compared to Cormac McCarthy, but really he brings to mind the early John Steinbeck, as in To a God Unknown, with its melodrama and twisted pantheism."—Booklist
"Holbert's characters, defined by their temperaments or their sins, are unforgettable... The Hour of Lead (the title comes from Emily Dickinson) captures the reader in the first daring chapter and, with prose that builds to a driving rhythm, holds on until the end. This is a fine novel and a masterful tribute to the "late" pioneers, men and women who grew up in remote areas of Washington State where, unconnected by good roads or north-south passenger trains, they learned the value of hard work and fair play. Highly recommended."—Historical Novel Society
"Bruce Holbert is a lyrical, soulful chronicler of our ever-changing West."—Jess Walter, Beautiful Ruins
"Holbert's powerful work echoes the romance of America's Western experience. A masterpiece."—Kirkus Starred Review
"Holbert's clever conclusion offers several surprising twist and some satisfaction"—Publishers Weekly