Coal Black Horse
The boy is Robey Childs, sent by his mother to...more
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Robey Childs’s mother had a dream that Stonewall Jackson had died. In her mind, if Jackson was dead, then the war was ove ...more
“It is now over”, she said, not looking at him, not favoring his eyes, but looking past him and some place beyond. … “This was a mistake a long time be ...more
In a sense, all stories are about what we mean to ourselves and what we mean to each other. It's really that simple, but every one of them has to be different.
This is a quote from the afterword of the Robert Olmstead's novel, and it explains in part the sense of timelessness, of the universal truths that stand as the foundation stones of his tale of war. The names of the characters, the names of the places or the reasons for the conflict become irrelevant. The opening passage could be part of ...more
“Yes sir,” he said. “I know. Rest now.”
“This was not the raving mad. This was not for love or greed or ignorance. These are the well bred and the highly educated. This is humanity. This is mankind, son.”
Coal Black Horse was a horrific and starkly beautiful civil war novel . Sparse in prose yet deeply expressive, it captures the reality and hopelessness of war and the loss of innocence with a style and imagery reminiscent of ...more
Coal Black Horse is the story of a fourteen year old boy who is sent by his mother to bring home his soldier/father from the battle at Gettysburg. It is the experience of a young boy in a war. I have heard stories about children ...more
In the opening pages, 14-year-old Robey Childs is called into the house by his clairvoyant mother. It's May 1863, and she perceives that the Civil War has reached a ...more
This book was a win ...more
It's easy to look back on a battle and say, That was the Battle of Gettysburg. It was fought in early July 1863 with 50,000 casualties. You had Meade on one side and Lee on the other. You can go back and draw up the battle plans in your head and watch how it was supposed to go and how it really went.
It's another thing to be there. Particularly from the ...more
Robert Olmstead has previously published three novels, a short story collection (River Dogs), and a memoir. Brief and intense, Coal Black Horse has generated high praise and seems destined to become the author's breakout book. Critics inevitably compare the novel to Charles Frazier's masterpiece, Cold Mountain, and other classics of Civil War and postapocalyptic fiction: Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, E. L. Doctorow's The March, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and Michael Shaara's Killer...more
Rarely have I read a book that fully depicts the horror of the aftermath of war that does not feel the need to sermonize about war and its banality. Yet this book, which is gruesomely violent and disturbing at times, seems to fully embrace war as a part of human nature, and in its basest elem ...more
This was a relativel ...more
The Civil War is the backdrop for this outstanding novel. It is about a boy who is sent on a life changing journey to seek out his father, after his mother has had a premonition about her husband. During his journey, Robey Child, finds every form of the seven deadly sins, but only to survive them and to help save a sexually a ...more
There are a number of well-written scenes and striking images, although there is also a lot of overwriting as wel ...more
Olmstead was born in 1954 in Westmoreland, New Hampshire. He grew up on a farm. After high school, he enrolled at Davidson College with a football scholarship, but left school after three semesters in which he compiled a poor academic record. He later attended Syracuse University, where he studied with Raymon ...more