|Malcolm responding to a question at the reading. [Photo: Reid Farmer]|
Painted Horses reads like a cross between Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, with a pinch of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient for good measure. It’s an earnest, romantic novel that seems destined for the silver screen. review by WILLIAM J. COBB, Dallas Morning News.I won't say much about the plot except to note that it's a Western novel (with a capital "W") mainly set in 1956 (my birth year) with flashbacks to WWII. Not only that, but there is a significant character named Caldwell. Malcolm assures me that the character is named for me.
Malcolm read one of the most heartbreaking and dramatic pieces from the book. After the reading, Malcolm took questions from the audience. There were some wonderful questions about his process and the origins of the novel. Malcolm's articulate and deeply personal answers captured the imaginations of all of us there. Aside from the compelling sweeping narrative, Malcom's book reads like a vocabulary of almost lost words, words describing western landscape, horse anatomy, and technical language related to horse tack. The breadth and depth of Malcolm's experience and research is astounding.
|Gathering of the clan: Carlos, OldGunkie, Reid Farmer, Malcolm Brooks, Steve Bodio [photo: Connie Farmer]|
|I took the pig over the door as a very good sign indeed and the menu and food did not disapoint.|
Our group included: Arthur (a friend of Steve's with expertise in rare antique military weapons), Arthur's sister, Malcolm, Connie Farmer's sister, Connie Farmer (Reid's wife), Reid Farmer (archeologist and contributor to the Querencia blog), Carlos Martinez Del Rio, Steve, and myself. The food and drink was excellent and then, of course, there was endlessly fascinating and wide ranging conversion; writing and writers (good, bad, and obnoxious), falconry, guns, pigeons, more guns, food, wine, and music. A woefully incomplete list of topics I can recall that were mentioned or discussed included: Annie Dillard, the post-punk band Mission of Burma, mushroom hunting, Johnny Cash, the eccentric Oxford naturalist Jonathan Kingdon, Remington Model 8 rifles, Mauser Broomhandles (especially regarding the merits of the 7.63 Mauser cartridge over the 9mm Luger chambering), Annie Proulx, the 1903 Mannlicher Schoenaur rifle, technical details (that were beyond my ken) of evolutionary biology of horses, dinosaurs, birds and lizards.
|Our table at Osteria Marco.|
A good time was had by all. I can not imagine anyone who better deserves the astounding success Malcolm is enjoying and the wonderful reception of his exceptional novel. Congratulations Malcolm! ... and if you don't have a copy - get one.