Review of Bruce Machart's "The Wake of Forgiveness"

Here’s my review of Bruce Machart’s debut novel, The Wake of Forgiveness, which appears today in the Dallas Morning News:
It’s a good novel, and I could have written much more about it, but there’s a short word count for the DMN. One thing I touched on (lightly) were two scenes of night-time horse racing. One of the blurbs (always suspicious) referred to Machart’s “exactitude.” I don’t know if he’s right or wrong, but I do know enough about horse races that if you care enough to attend one, you’d like to be able to see it. There’s firelight in the scene, naturally, but that would only reach, what? thirty to fifty feet? Much is made of the expressions on the characters’ faces as they ride hell-bent through the night, one of them being a pretty “Spanish” girl, but how could you see any expression if it’s dark? Does it really matter? It makes for a romantic scene, and much of the novel is romanticized (scratch that “exactitude”). The hardbitten, dour characters are, for instance, awfully eloquent, even though I’d guess that, from the farm work described, they don’t spend much time with any “book learnin’.” And where do these pine trees come from? The closest pines I’ve seen in central Tx are near Bastrop, but that’s pretty far from his location. As I mention, the novel seems to follow a Faulkner/Cormac McCarthy tradition, and I’m a sucker for that.

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