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Shannon Pufahl: On Swift Horses
November 5, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm PSTFree
Shannon Pufahl discusses hew new novel, On Swift Horses.
Praise for On Swift Horses
“Once in a rare while you come across a novel of such transfixing beauty that it enlarges your faith in the medium itself. On Swift Horses is, for me, one of those books. As an exploration of life lived in the outer distances of plain sight, it is suffused with hazard and touched by grace, furnished with the longevity of a postwar classic and the immediacy of the present tense. It is, simply put, a masterpiece.”—Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
“On Swift Horses is about both risk and the risqué, about daring to know, name, and act on our own desires. Read this book for the adventure, for the keening lyricism of the lost and searching, but mostly read this book because no one writes like Shannon Pufahl. Her voice is muscular, awesome, and pure. This book knocked me flat on my back.” —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
“On Swift Horses is a marvel, a beautifully written novel that traces its raw, guarded characters from California to Las Vegas to Mexico with grace and inevitability. Shannon Pufahl’s mid-century West is dead-on right, as recognizable as a box of old photos and yet completely original in voice and scope.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
About On Swift Horses
A lonely newlywed and her wayward brother-in-law follow divergent and dangerous paths through the postwar American West.
Muriel is newly married and restless, transplanted from her rural Kansas hometown to life in a dusty bungalow in San Diego. The air is rich with the tang of salt and citrus, but the limits of her new life seem to be closing in: She misses her freethinking mother, dead before Muriel’s nineteenth birthday, and her sly, itinerant brother-in-law, Julius, who made the world feel bigger than she had imagined. And so she begins slipping off to the Del Mar racetrack to bet and eavesdrop, learning the language of horses and risk. Meanwhile, Julius is testing his fate in Las Vegas, working at a local casino where tourists watch atomic tests from the roof, and falling in love with Henry, a young card cheat. When Henry is eventually discovered and run out of town, Julius takes off to search for him in the plazas and dives of Tijuana, trading one city of dangerous illusions and indiscretions for another.
On Swift Horses is a debut of astonishing power: a story of love and luck, of two people trying to find their place in a country that is coming apart even as it promises them everything.