Steeped in a lonesome Montana landscape as unyielding and raw as it is beautiful, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen is a new classic in the literature of the American West.
At the center of this searing, fever dream of a novel are two men—a killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy—sitting across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell: John Gload, so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced the prospect of long-term incarceration and Valentine Millimaki, low man in the Copper County sheriff’s department, who draws the overnight shift after Gload’s arrest. With a disintegrating marriage further collapsing under the strain of his night duty, Millimaki finds himself seeking counsel from a man whose troubled past shares something essential with his own. Their uneasy friendship takes a startling turn with a brazen act of violence that yokes together two haunted souls by the secrets they share, and by the rugged country that keeps them.
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Praise for the book:
"Nuanced…fascinating…What Zupan offers is a superb, retro prose style, channeling William Faulkner in long passages engorged with vocabulary, and meditations on what it means to be alive, if barely, in rural Montana circa 1980…a rich, morose meditation on death, law enforcement, and friendship." ~Booklist
“[A] riveting debut….A fascinating first novel that examines the complexities of two men, opposites in every way, whose lives nevertheless intertwine. With such a strong debut, Zupan’s literary future looks exceptionally promising.” ~Library Journal
“In a voice that evokes the great contemporary Western landscape, Kim Zupan’s debut novel The Ploughmen weaves a gripping tale both personal and epic. This is a story of two men, a deputy and his prisoner, and the uncommon bond forged between them. A stunning work from the first pages to the last, this is a book that will not let down.” ~Claire Davis, author of Winter Range
“The Ploughmen is simply splendid; lyrical, surprising, authoritative and starkly honest in its rendering of the human soul. The relationships between Mr. Zupan’s complex and heartbreaking characters gripped me from the first page and have left me wondering still at the grace that affords us moments of generosity and compassion.” ~Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life
“The Ploughmen is part inspired fever-dream, part adventure story, a lyric parable of not just goodand evil but of the vast and beautiful and often lonely country in-between. Kim Zupan is a wonder.” ~Rick Bass, author of The Watch