Molly Gloss, award-winning author of The Jump Off Creek and Wild Life, returns to her Western roots with a powerfully unsentimental story of innocence lost, the loneliness of grief and the transitional meaning of home. Beginning with a grimy bus ride south, and ending with a long ride north again, Falling From Horses spans the year of 1938, when nineteen-year-old Bud Frazer set out to become a stunt rider in Hollywood movies. Brought together by a shared bus ride, Bud Frazer and Lily Shaw—an aspiring writer with more backbone than beauty—would become lifelong friends, sharing hope and heartache in Hollywood and the years to come.
Though lightly educated and youthfully inexperienced, Bud learns to see clear through the glamor of Hollywood to the off-hand cruelty of budget-conscious studios, which have no concern for desperate riders and even less for the horses that carry them. Come to Hollywood looking to lose himself and the darkness he carries, Bud is slow to outrage against the violence around him, but a terrible accident finally unveils the reality of movie-making and forces Bud to find a way home.
Falling From Horses is mercilessly evocative, bringing to life the Western landscape and the diversity of characters that make it their home. The heartbreak of lost friends and loved ones—those left behind, those who have died—is nearly outweighed by the devastation of lost horses, carelessly sacrificed for cheap Hollywood thrills. Molly Gloss upends the cowboy archetype, exposing this cinematic construction as a hollow fantasy, and offers a more truthful depiction of the cowboy life. Both beautiful and unflinching, Falling From Horses may be hard to love, but it should prove impossible to forget.
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