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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 that would neither rest nor, in their restless eloquence, let him remain silent. Through the heart of the United States, this mover of bones encounters people who live on the margins, geographically and emotionally, and who find that his presence and his plight summon their voices. Rumors surface and reports multiply as the lonely and the addicted, the isolated and the damned, the pure of heart and the holy sane speak. From the dark and distant edges of society, they bear witness - sometimes directly, sometimes obliquely - to what the mover of bones and his burden mean. Defiler, redeemer, sinner, or saint - Breedlove is the stuff myths are made of, and "The Mover of Bones", the first of a planned trilogy of novels by the remarkably gifted Robert Vivian, evokes a collective dream of the heartland. Robert Vivian's stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and his plays have been produced in New York City. He is the author of the award-winning book "Cold Snap as Yearning" (available in a Bison Books edition) and teaches English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780803246799
ISBN-10: 080324679X
Format: Hardback
(5487mm x 3556mm x 18mm)
Pages: 166
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2006
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Pitiless, weird story of the travels of a dead girl's bones, from the author of Cold Snap as Yearning (2001).The plot here is beyond strange: A janitor in Nebraska digs up the bones of a young girl who was tortured, murdered and abandoned. The excavation of her bones seems to resurrect something of the girl's innocence; merely touching them gives the lonely, alcoholic janitor a sense of purpose, and he drives the bones around Nebraska, bringing them to various people in some random, unexplained ritual. Sometimes the janitor invites someone to come close, to look at the mysterious bundle he carries with him, but those who need her most seem to find her. Something in the girl's brief life makes people see what is undone in their own. She shows them what they have missed, what they have valued and lost; her bones, like those of a saint, seem to sanctify the people who see them. If all that isn't bizarre enough, consider the story's form. Few characters appear in more than one chapter-even the janitor shows up only at the margins of later stories. The text is composed of 18 first-person narratives-some are short wails punctuated by overwhelming grief and pain, some are longer and more muted reviews of unfulfilled hopes. Battered women, late-blooming poets, drug-addicted shopkeepers, among others, fall under the bones' spell. As the characters are hypnotized by the murdered girl, so too do their voices mesmerize the reader. Vivian's ability to fully inhabit his characters, to render their voices, their thoughts, their quirks and fears, is flawless. Indeed, the emotional intensity and unrelenting revelations of the interior life of its most banal people are exhausting. This is a Nebraska that would send Poe running for his life.Like the dead girl at its center, this tale is disturbing, horrifying and beautiful all at once. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Robert Vivian

Robert Vivian s stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and his plays have been produced in New York City. He is the author of the award-winning book Cold Snap as Yearning (available in a Bison Books edition) and teaches English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan."

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