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Here’s a stellar debut novel flawlessly written—lyrical prose, realistic characters, and terrific sense of place. The story centers on a motherless boy, Karel Skala, his father and older brothers in three time periods from 1900 to 1924 in a Czech immigrant community in southeast Texas. Machart has used his knowledge of these people, their time and place to full advantage, building his tale on a classic ‘stranger comes to town’ plot. There’s horseracing, regret, revenge, beer smuggling, women who are strong and men who are good looking! What else does a story need! Some may have just a little trouble staying with a story that jumps back and forth in the three time periods and varying points of view. To me, it just made this superb book more interesting.
posted Aug 22, 2011 at 8:22AM
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Mother died giving birth to him; talented on horseback; tries to use horseback to win his father's love.