Leonard Pierce's Reviews > The Ploughmen: A Novel

The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan
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Remarkably adept and confident for a first novel, "The Ploughmen" is one of those books that might strike those who are easily frustrated with flowery landscape prose as excessive but which is liable to hook those for whom gorgeous descriptive language is butter on bread. You can probably guess from my rating which group I belong to. Set in the stark rural places of Montana, it's a contemporary Western of great affect and beauty, as well as a tightly wrapped psychological portrait of two men who, surrounded by nearly infinite space, somehow manage to find themselves bound into prisons of their own making. It's not a big book, clocking in at just over 250 pages, nor is it a sprawling narrative, with only two major characters, but it somehow manages to seem both vast and intimate at the same time. John Gload, the murderer whose arrest sets the story in action, is frightening but relatable, while his opposite number, the deceptively mild deputy Val Millimaki, seems like a figure of simple decency but contains unexpected and dark abysses inside. Not really a thriller or even a work of crime fiction, "The Ploughmen" is really an exploration of friendship defined by desperation.
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Reading Progress

February 25, 2016 – Started Reading
March 30, 2016 – Shelved
March 30, 2016 – Shelved as: fiction
March 30, 2016 – Finished Reading

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