Remember my goal of 50 books this year? I'm making a steady pace of it this January (that's what 60 hours on a plane will get you!) and I didn't want to write about it until the end of the month, but had to bring up The Ploughmen. This is, by far, the bleakest book I've read in a long time. It can be a little overwritten, and sometimes feels a little too Cormac McCathy-ish. (Generally, that's not a good thing unless you're Cormac McCathy and, even then . . . well.)
But, it's a gorgeous book. Also, very dense. It's a little shy of 300 pages but I have to take a break every 25 or so to re-read parts and just take a little breather. It's about an unlikely relationship (friendship?) formed between a troubled young deputy that's hired to guard an older, wiser, meaner killer named John Gload, a man who's managed to evade the law for most of his life. The majority of it takes place during winter in northern Montana, and the brutal setting is, I'd say, a central character. It's written, perhaps unsurprisingly, by a native Montanan who can now list "prize-winning novelist" in addition to "pro rodeo rider, smelterman, ranch hand, and salmon fisherman" to his list of accomplishments. Seriously.
Some people get all the luck.
P.S. This novel has been a good antidote to something I'm reading alongside it, Station Eleven. I picked it up at the behest of about a million people and—contrary to every other single person in the world—I'm finding it really silly.