The Wake of Forgiveness
One moonless night in February 1895, a young landowner in Texas cow country loses his wife in childbirth. In the lonely years that follow, his new son, his fourth, grows to become a skillful, aggressive jockey and his father, with equal fervor, stakes his land and fortunes on his success. In 1910, father and son, distant yet strangely joined in this venture, race to a poin...more
Wonderfully layered out in some of the most eloquent words strung together in a sentence.
This guy can really write, literally unheard of by the reading population. A must read this novel deserves immediate attention by the populace, the author has crafted a story that was such a joy to read captivating, deep sense of meaning and place.
I am thinking along the lines of Train Dreams by Denis Johnson an...more
Set in Texas at the dawn of the 20th century, the novel focuses on...more
This book took me much longer to read than most books, and I cannot quite put my finger on why. What I do know is that Machart is a very talented writer whose prose often read like stark and lyrical poetry and sometimes reach the quality of genius. Sounds dramatic, I know, but as a writer myself I was impressed - and envious - of his talent with the written word.
Machart's characters are com...more
It's a traditionally male story about a family of brothers in the American west, but with a twist: everything that goes right or wrong has ultimately to do with women, mostly with a woman not getting her due or being given a...more
The blood had come hard from her, so much of it that, when Vaclav Skala awoke in wet bed linens to find her curled up against him on her side, moaning and glazed with sweat, rosary beads twisted around her clenched fingers, he smiled at the thought th...more
My own tastes run to tales of the collapse of people's hopes and dreams and the bleak existence that comes with adulthood (think Ethan Frome - I am a lot of fun at parties), so The Wake of Forgiveness was right up my alley.
A number of people have compared Machart to McCar...more
That one sentence from Bruce Machart’s The Wake of Forgiveness encapsulates the book but does not do justice to the strange beauty of this book. When Karel was born, the fourth son of Vaclav Skala a Czech imigrant to Texas, his mother died and that seemed to twist his father’s Skal...more
I was hooked within the first 50 words, Machart's prose was wonderful, his imagery beautiful & stark at the same time. I think the story could have gone onto a better conclusion, could have been more meaty in the end but seeing as I did not write it I can o...more
After his beloved Clara dies, Vaclav is an embittered man who uses his sons as "work horses" to plow the fields. He exempts his own horses from working since he uses them to race. What proves to be Vaclav’s undoing, however, is his blind hubris.
Instead, Vaclav treats Karel and his brothers...more
Take a look at that cover. Isn't it beautiful? It's smart too. Everyone loves a horse. It is not a gender specific symbol. The photo is powerful so the consumer/reader can expect drama but it isn't overwhelmingly masculine or th...more
Every once in a great while you come across a book that does all the things you want a book to do. Prose so sumptuous you hold your breath through whole sections because breathing - even breathing - would disrupt the amazing way a thought is unfolding. A pl...more
The book opens with the death of Vaclav Skala's wife as she gives birth to their fourth son. Utterly bereft Skala reverts to the brutal and unforgiving man he was before he married. He raises his sons with an iron fist, saving any kindness for the horses he shrewdly races to win his neighbor's land. Karel, the youngest son, grows up without ever having fe...more
There is enough material here to fill a 600 page novel about Czech immigrants in Central Texas at the turn of the century, but Machart's approach is elliptical, roving across the years 1895, 19...more
Vaclav Skala and his boys are alone since the death of his wife when she gave birth to Karel. People say Vaclav was a good man when he was with his wife but we don’t see...more
One of the most beautiful books I've ever read! Machart has a masterpiece on his hand, vividly painting human emotion atop a Texas-in-the-early-1900s background. You are initially drawn in through the heart-rending loss of a mother, and then flash back and forth through the youngest son's life as he copes with a harsh father, the loss of a relationship with his brothers, and his own hard shell. But as tough as that shell is, you can still peer through the cracks to the heart be...more
These boys were from a father who treated no better than a work horse, actually the work horses were trea...more
The comparisons to Cormac McCarthy and maybe Faulkner are probably going to be inevitable here with the rich descreptive passages that describe the landscape, weather, animals and reflections of characters. These take a bit of effort, but so worth the concentration. Bruce Machart knows how to use the language. As the jacket image suggests, horses p...more