A dedicated state trooper and a lonely computer technician stumble unawares toward a violent confrontation in Nova’s ambitious, multilayered novel. While Russell Boyd patrols the Vermont highways by night and grapples with his girlfriend’s pregnancy, Frank Kohler struggles to connect with his Russian mail-order bride. The bare-bones plot unfolds almost imperceptibly, interweaving the two men’s workaday lives in brief, charged vignettes. Along the way, Nova displays an uncanny flair for evoking his characters’ innermost fears and desires through sensuous details — from the rank ferment of kitchen garbage to an autumn fox hunt among sumac with leaves ”the color of the reddest lipstick.”
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