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Book Review: 'Gabriel's Story'

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Gabriel's Story

Current Status:
In Season
David Anthony Durham

We gave it an A-

This first novel about the American West has already drawn comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. Justly, since the setting and stoicism of 15-year-old Gabriel evoke a similar mood. But this cowboy is black, and there’s a roiling tension that underlies Durham’s rough coming-of-age tale. Durham reminds readers that the West bucked under Reconstruction as violently as the South, with ”whites … who hated so hard they couldn’t stand to be deprived of the target for their hatred.” But this is more than a history lesson. Durham fearlessly tackles unwieldy themes and an array of fully fleshed-out minor characters, while giving the land itself its lavish due. A-