Author: Gil Adamson Publication Date: 2007 Category: Startling transformation of the classsic western narrative. Who'll want to read it? Readers who enjoy a haunting tale about passionate crime and retribution, precarious survival, redemption and love. A story of one young woman's deliberate journey deep into the icy wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Along her journey she encounters a handful of odd and eccentric individuals who like her are outcasts surviving against the odds in the harsh frontiers of America but who also offer her kindness, which gives her hope.
'A remarkable first novel, full of verve, beautifully written, and with all the panache of a great adventure' MICHAEL ONDAATJE
Point of no return: "Nineteen years old and already a widow. Mary Boulton. Widowed by her own hand.".pg 4
" The girl stood in a ditch under a hard , small moon. Pale foam rose from where her shoes sank into the mud. No more voices inside her head, no noise but these dogs. She saw her own course along the ground as a trail of bright light, now doused in the ditchwater. She clamboured up the bank and onto the road, her stiff funeral skirt made of breadspread and curtain, her hair wild and falling in dark robes about her face. The widow gathered up her shawl and fled witchlike down the empty road." p 4
Classic Opening Verse:
Now goes the sun under the wood,
I pity, Mary, thy fair face.
Now goes the sun under the tree,
I pity, Mary, thy son and thee.
-ANON, THIRTEENTH CENTURY
What's it all about? A young woman referred to as the widow who we later find out is called Mary is being pursued in the night by two vengeful brothers and a pack of dogs. The brothers are tracking her like prey in retaliation for killing their kin. The widow is also suffering the recent loss of her son which fuels her delirium which runs in the recesses of her mind. Glimpses into her past reveal her unhappy marriage, absent and sick parents and her repression by an over bearing grandmother. The widows wintery and intense journey is aided by rogues who help her with food, shelter and safe passage.
This story speaks to the resilence of the female spirit in the early part of the last century. The wild womyn who need to find a way out and seek their own liberation, no matter what it takes.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin