Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

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Readers will share in the environs of the author and her characters, be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side — wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.
-NY Times

Synopsis

The extraordinary debut collection from the Guggenheim Award-winning author of the forthcoming Gold Fame Citrus
 
Winner of the 2012 Story Prize
Recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 Rosenthal Family Foundation Award
Named one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" fiction writers of 2012
Winner of New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award
NPR Best Short Story Collections of 2012
A Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and Time Out New York Best Book of the year, and more . . .


Like the work of Cormac McCarthy, Denis Johnson, Richard Ford, and Annie Proulx, Battleborn represents a near-perfect confluence of sensibility and setting, and the introduction of an exceptionally powerful and original literary voice. In each of these ten unforgettable stories, Claire Vaye Watkins writes her way fearlessly into the mythology of the American West, utterly reimagining it. Her characters orbit around the region's vast spaces, winning redemption despite - and often because of - the hardship and violence they endure. The arrival of a foreigner transforms the exchange of eroticism and emotion at a prostitution ranch. A prospecting hermit discovers the limits of his rugged individualism when he tries to rescue an abused teenager. Decades after she led her best friend into a degrading encounter in a Vegas hotel room, a woman feels the aftershock. Most bravely of all, Watkins takes on – and reinvents – her own troubled legacy in a story that emerges from the mayhem and destruction of Helter Skelter. Arcing from the sweeping and sublime to the minute and personal, from Gold Rush to ghost town to desert to brothel, the collection echoes not only in its title but also in its fierce, undefeated spirit the motto of her home state.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Claire Vaye Watkins

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CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS was born in Death Valley and raised in the Nevada desert. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Paris Review, The Hopkins Review, Hobart, One Story, Ploughshares, and Las Vegas Weekly. She is an assistant professor at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
 
Published August 2, 2012 by Riverhead Books. 305 pages
Genres: Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Battleborn
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Antonya Nelson on Sep 21 2012

Readers will share in the environs of the author and her characters, be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side — wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Aug 24 2012

Whether focused on mother or father, however, this Manson Family backstory is hard to ignore. Watkins wisely chooses to deal with it at the outset of the collection...

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