In frontier America, a man lives with a pregnant woman who is not his wife. One day a stranger appears and advises the man to formally register the baby as his own at Fort James, a fabled military outpost. Setting out on a lonely journey across an arid and hostile terrain, the man leaves the woman in the care of the stranger. Soon after he departs, the stranger kills the woman and her unborn child and then sets off in pursuit of the man.
As their parallel journeys unfold, we learn of the man’s childhood as a boy with his father working on a ship where men survived by cannibalizing their crewmates, their internment on an island and their subsequent life in a port town; we watch the stranger as he assumes many guises to shape-shift his way through history in pursuit of the mana pawn in the stranger’s brutal game rewriting the myths of the American West.
Menacing, visceral and lyrical, Beyond the Horizon is an astonishing allegory about the origins of modern Americaa sojourn into the darkest parts of Western lore, which etches out its own unique place in the anti-Western, gothic tradition.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Ryan Ireland was born and raised in Ohio. He lives in the village of Alpha, OH, with his wife and three children. He is a strong advocate for public libraries, with work appearing in Public Library Quarterly and Voice of Youth Advocates. His writing has also been published in Fogdog Review, Seems, and Writing on the Edge. In 2009 he was recognized by Glimmer Train as one of the 25 Best New Writers. Beyond the Horizon is his first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It's very rare I don't finish a book. This is one of those. I barely got a third of the way through and found no pleasure in it. Apparently the devil, the stranger, is cruising the southwest to kill. His sort of antagonist, the man, has an ugly past with his father stranded in the Sargasso, with cannibalism and child sexual abuse. The plot line jumps across time, breaking the flow. Making things more complicated, the author has Spanish speaking characters speak whole passages in Spanish. A single word's meaning n be discerned by context but whole sentences are a challenge. Anyway, this was not pleasant or enjoyable. Of course, the next reader may like the story.
I’ve been thinking about this book for a number of months now. For this reason alone, I would recommend it because it provokes and is just a really good story. What follows is less of a review, but more of a self-reflection on why the book has provoked me to write a review. First, the story reminds me much of the southwestern United States. It is not a particularly long read and the invoked imagery is dry, lonely, windy, hot, daunting, and at the same time wondrous. While maintaining this stark and austere feeling for much of the book, it is also very much like the southwest in that the story is strange in a very good way. In short, it’s just the most engaging story I’ve read this past year. It even manages to verge periodically on the outlandish without crossing into the absurd. Believe it or not, there is a lot of humor sprinkled through the narrative that every so often ventures into the grotesque. But this odd combination works as well. The writing style itself is unique and odd. There are times of sublime reading – quiet, expansive, and immersive. Other times, the author seems to break the 4th wall not in an intentional second person type of narrative, but more in just an odd and sometimes disruptive choice of literary style. Frankly, it can be jarring. Then again, so is the southwest in many places. All in all, I think this was a very strong first book by the author, and I very much look forward to his future works, which I hope provoke an equally lasting feeling of disquiet and great interest.