|The Ploughmen by Kim Zupan (paperback)|
Two Men From Opposite Sides Connect
The plot line of this book is about a sheriff’s deputy that has to watch a killer named John Gload. Thet wo go through a lot of conversations together, and Gload starts to reveal some information about the dead bodies that the deputy has been finding through his latest ventures in law enforcement. The two go through a great variety of conversations, juxtaposed by Millimaki (deputy) and his life outside of the jail and law enforcement gig. The prose is amazing, and the two bring you to your knees in terms of conversation that seems so real, and yet removed from what you experience on a regular basis. It’s a nice trip into a psychological area of the mind, from the law enforcement side to the killer’s side, and the humanity that the two share in common.
A Western That Is Not A Western
I mentioned that I wanted to read a western, but this is not the same kind of western that you’re going to think about in other arenas. This is not a gun slinging solution, and it’s not something that is going to appeal to you if you want an action based western novel. It’s not that action packed. Instead, it’s more akin to “Silence of the Lambs” in a way, although there’s a lot more modern and less frenetic. It’s like a Robert Altman western akin to “McCabe and Mrs. Miller”. This is something that is quite good overall, and the pacing is a bit the same as the former award-winning movie. This is very much a western in setting, and in character design, but honestly, it’s more of a noir piece, than a focused western like John Wayne’s classics.
The Drama of Humanity and The Tragedy of Truth
“The Ploughmen” by Kim Zupan pushes you through the most difficult of times between two different arenas of life, from the law to the criminal lifestyle. A lawman that has insomnia and is losing his marriage, a career criminal with no family and a checkered past, the two discuss the ins and outs of their lives, and find that they aren’t so different after all. It’s a dramatic novel that is hard to read at times because Zupan’s prose is so compelling and artistic, not just straight one liners and sentences. She has found a way to make poetry into drama and movements that speak to the heart and the brain at the same time. It’s a slow burning fire that comes to an end that you may not expect, and one that is kind of funny.
Star Rating For “The Ploughmen” by Kim Zupan
This book took me some time to finish. It’s not a long novel, but it’s dense. It’s for that reason that I’m going to give this book a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not action packed, but there’s enough density and darkness to make this a very dramatic, and real western, that is more akin to what real life on the Palouse was like, even in the modernism of today. I liked it a lot.