Congratulations to Brian Smith, winner of last week's Friday Freebie, Dust to Dust: A Memoir by Benjamin Busch.
Boleto by Alyson Hagy which will be released by Graywolf Press in two weeks. Through the generosity of the publisher, five lucky readers will win a copy of the book. I'm especially pleased to be able to offer Alyson's novel to Quivering Pen readers because I've long been a fan of her writing. This new novel is about Will Testerman, a young horse trainer in Wyoming who is making his way in the world as best he can. Here's how the publisher describes the plot in the jacket copy: "Money is tight at the family ranch, where Will is living again after a disastrous end to his job on the Texas show-horse circuit. He sees his chance with a beautiful quarter horse, a filly that might earn him a reputation, and spends his savings to buy her. Armed with stories and the confidence of youth, he devotes himself to her training -- first, in the familiar barns and corrals of home, then on a guest ranch in the rugged Absaroka mountains, and, in the final trial, on the glittering, treacherous polo fields of southern California." As with any of Hagy's novels or short stories, Boleto is about much more than horse whispering or hard-luck ranching; it's about finding the heart of people on the wide landscape of the West. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, calling it a "beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance....In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West."
Hagy writes in a stripped-down, direct style which helps readers cut straight to the core of the story. Just take a look at these paragraphs from the opening chapter of Boleto:
His name was William Testerman, and he was twenty-three years old. There were days he felt older. And days he felt as lost as a blind pup. His parents had raised him in a way that allowed him to take account of the weaknesses he might find within himself. His older brothers, Everett and Chad, had managed to cover the bases on the family ranch. It was a small place, just ninety deeded acres set along one side of Little Kettle Creek. The town of Lost Cabin, Wyoming, had grown right up to the edge of the ranch, and the town was growing still. It was his father's joke to refer to the hay meadows and corrals he owned as the Lost Cabin Municipal Golf Course.
Town is eating its way right past us, his father said. When I was a kid, you couldn't pay people to live in this part of the state. Too cold. Too much isolation. Now everybody in America thinks they're in love with fresh air and loneliness.
If you'd like a chance at winning one of five copies of Boleto, all you have to do is answer this question:
Where was Alyson Hagy raised? (Hint: read this Publishers Weekly article about her)
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on May 3--at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on May 4. If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week Quivering Pen newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email. Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).
Want to double your odds of winning? Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter. Once you've done either or both of those, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.