A young sheriff and a hardened killer form an uneasy and complicated bond in this mesmerizing first novel set on the plains of Montana.
Steeped in a lonesome Montana landscape as unyielding and raw as it is beautiful, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen is a new classic in the literature of the American West.
At the center of this searing, fever dream of a novel are two men—a killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy—sitting across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell: John Gload, so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced the prospect of long-term incarceration and Valentine Millimaki, low man in the Copper County sheriff’s department, who draws the overnight shift after Gload’s arrest. With a disintegrating marriage further collapsing under the strain of his night duty, Millimaki finds himself seeking counsel from a man whose troubled past shares something essential with his own. Their uneasy friendship takes a startling turn with a brazen act of violence that yokes together two haunted souls by the secrets they share, and by the rugged country that keeps them.
I’ve been trying to read this book since it arrived for review and finally I just gave up.
While the premise sounded good, and there is a certain dark lyrical quality to the writing, I couldn’t get past the second chapter. I found the run-on sentences and endless descriptions of the landscape boring and unable to hold my attention. Normally I like it when the author makes the landscape another character in the novel, but too much, like in The Ploughmen, makes it impossible to stay focused and get into the novel.
After giving this several tries, I finally just decided that this one isn’t for me.
Title: The Ploughmen
Author: Kim Zupan
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: 10/2014
Source: Trade Paperback ARC from Publisher