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Snow, Ashes

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Alyson Hagy’s Show, Ashesprologue, following two boys as they learn to slaughter lambs, reads like a taut short story, thrusting us into the brutality and beauty of Wyoming ranch life and introducing sweet but slightly off C.D. Hobbs and his protective friend, Fremont Adams. But the pair’s experiences in the Korean War scar them, both physically and emotionally, and redefine their friendship. While Hagy’s spare, elliptical prose is precise, it keeps us from becoming fully invested in Adams’ personal struggles. Still, her fine eye for detail — a Korean child’s cry reminds Adams of orphaned lambs — provides moments of real power. B