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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Some books are so strong that one almost feels that to try to describe just how good they are would take something away from the perfection of the prose itself. Allen Morris Jones's first novel, Last Year's River, is one such book.
The former editor of Big Sky Journal, Jones has staked out his territory in the land of Wyoming, and he paints a landscape that's as true as his characters. The plot of the novel is simple enough: a privileged New York debutante, suffering the ill effects of what we would now term date rape, is exiled to a ranch in Wyoming for her confinement. A World War I combat vet, weary and shell-shocked, returns to his family homestead to work for his belligerent father, and the two refugees become unlikely but somehow perfectly suited lovers.
"Don't you think it's true that most of us are drawn to what we're not? We spend our lives trying to fill absences. Why, after all, would anyone desire what is already possessed?...What we love most are those things without which we are incomplete."
Jones's prose brings to mind the best passages in Nicholas Evans's debut, The Horse Whisperer. Jones knows his animals and their habitats, and his descriptions are so vivid, they're almost filmic. But the quiet space in which his characters Virginia and Henry reside is what carves out a niche for this book that has formerly been occupied only by true literary greats. (Fall 2001 Selection)