Larry Watson is a riveting storyteller ... A distracting number of cigarettes get crushed in the novel, so many in fact that spotting one stubbed, stabbed or ground into asphalt, concrete or gravel would make for a good drinking game ... All in all, this is a fast and compelling read, sparse and dusty as the open plain. Watson’s journey is a sensory one, taking us down rippling highways and across weedy fields into basement rec rooms and out into shadowy sunsets. Though some scenes are gritty, the novel’s dialogue and imagery awaken our senses and prove once again that when depicting small-town life in the West, Larry Watson is crushing it.
Most people resign themselves to their lot in life, but not Edie, which makes her story fascinating but also profoundly sad ... Watson’s writing style is simple but powerfully effective. It’s easy to sympathize with Edie and understand the difficult choices she makes. Everyone has a moment when they wish they could just chuck everything and start over. Watson leaves enough room for readers to ponder whether they should.
... Edie Pritchard...another of Watson’s resolute characters burdened by the inevitability of loss and the implacable landscape of eastern Montana ... [a] taut, understated narrative ... Watson remains incapable of creating characters who aren’t fully formed individuals, as courageous as they are vulnerable, and here he again displays his rare ability to craft strong women and to describe their everyday lives with rare power.
Watson’s novel is set against the rugged landscape of Montana, the perfect backdrop for a story about a woman who spends her life running up against and away from mountains of male ego and desire ... Watson is a born storyteller, and it shows on every understated page. But Edie's story also rings with a hardscrabble poetry ... A riveting and tense examination of identity, violence, and female anger.
... [a] vibrant character study ... Like in the best works of Richard Ford and Elizabeth Strout, Watson shows off a keen eye for regional details, a pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and an affinity for sharp characterization. This triptych is richly rewarding.