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The Mover of Bones

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  30 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In one hand, Jesse Breedlove holds a bottle of Cuervo Gold—or what’s left of it—in the other, the shovel with which he has just unearthed the bones of a small girl buried in the cellar of a Catholic church in Omaha, Nebraska. So begins Breedlove’s odyssey across the literal and mythical landscapes of America, bearing the finely articulated body he has uncovered, the bones ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by University of Nebraska Press (first published 2006)
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Phenomenal. A book my favorite college professor and one of the most interesting human beings I have ever met, Vivian can't help but paint images that will burn into retinas and he demonstrates extraordinary capability in capturing the mentality, the perspective, and the voice of a wide variety of individual walks of life, full of insightful thoughts as characters are examined: the gambling addict in Vegas who is dying to return home; the abused housewife who fears discovery from the man she's s ...more
The Mover of Bones Robert Vivian's first novel of his "Tall Grass Trilogy" (followed by Lamb Bright Saviors (2010) and Another Kingdom Burning (2011) both from U of Nebraska Press), is an interesting book. I know that's not a particularly good descriptor, but Vivian's work is difficult to categorize--which isn't a bad thing.

To say what The Mover of Bones is about or to describe its plot isn't all that easy. On the surface the novel is about how Jesse Breedlove, a man we ultimately don't know a
Sophfronia Scott
Janitor Jesse Breedlove digs up the bones of a murdered girl in the basement of a church. Why is he doing it? Is he going to find the murderer? Will he find her family? These would be the questions answered in an ordinary novel but “The Mover of Bones”, thankfully, is no ordinary novel. Instead Breedlove gently puts the bones in the back of his pickup truck and goes on what one character calls “a rock-n-roll tour” traveling across the country where he encounters a variety of people, many living ...more
Wow! This was a really interesting book. It didn't quite grab me at its beginning, but I was compelled to keep reading and found it to be -- in the end -- really thought-provoking. Surreal, troubling, beautiful, sublime... It's hard to explain exactly what this book is "about", but the first person vignettes delving into the lives of the downtrodden, the misunderstood, the desperate -- addicted, homeless, friendless, disabled, privileged, and empty -- really affected me. I felt myself relating i ...more
from the beginning this book was more than a story about a drifter, a drunk, or a criminal - it was mythic and mystic. what vivian did was craft a series of characters who were more like embodiments gifted into existence by the bones of a dead girl. but even that is not quite right, because he writes secret poems in between the lives he tells in lines. "the breeze came in softly ... like a piece of cotton dipped in hope." i couldn't stop and read it in one sitting.
I have given this book to 6 people - it is a heavy journey indeed for such a small book. The chapters are tiny, ranging from 1 to a few pages - but the words and thoughts are rich and fatty - giving the reader a good dose of literary gout.

It is definite any reader will be able to relate to at least one of the characters in the book - a truly tragic story which fills you up and lightens your load.
Jun 02, 2007 Carrie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Great Plains lit, lyric fiction, myth
It took me two tries to start this novel, of which Jesse Breedlove is the least interesting part. What really captured me is the lyricism of the language and the sympathy with which even the most disturbing characters are rendered. Jesse may offer redemption, but these are people are who have to make their own.
Highly readable prose doubles as powerful poetry. So intense and fraught with meaning I needed to read it in small doses in order to properly savor the majesty of this author's craft. This man is an incredible writer. Nothing I can opine can adequately tout the literary perfection of this book. Amazing!
Beautiful, haunting, truthful, and original. Vivian paints America in all its light and darkness. It's the heartland counterpart to Selby's Last Exit To Brooklyn.
Truman Bullard
This author deserves far wider recognition. His three brief novels
are simply wonderful both in content and style.
Love Vivian's work, but I enjoy his essays more than his novels. I'm biased, though.
Sue Silverman
Robert Vivian's is an incredible stylist with vivid and urgent imagery.
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