Fargo. Tommy Jack doesn't feel right about leaving her there; he asks her if she wants to ride along with him. Later she goes out into the winter night, lies down in the snow and dies in her sleep.
The ensuing police investigation and media interest sets Tommy Jack on a very public reflective journey. His memories of Vietnam, those of his best friend Fred Howkowski and his son, and also of his lover Shirley Mounter are all brought into view. Wounds long buried are unearthed and thrust into daylight.
I have to say right up front that I loved this book. Every minute of it. I read it as an ebook sitting at my desktop computer. Not a comfortable way to read, but I couldn't stop once I started this book. I would much rather have had a paperback as I wanted to carry it around with me, and hold it close. I wanted to trace the cover images with my finger and re-read passages, particularly those about the Fireball game and those times Tommy Jack spent with Shirley.
Why did I love it? It seemed to me that it was such a real set of circumstances that they could have happened to a neighbour or friend. I can't imagine being torn from your comfy home life and dropped literally into a war zone. The friendship that Tommy Jack formed with Fred was the type of friendship that would last forever. Even thirty years after Fred's passing, Tommy Jack still referred to him as his best friend. Even writing this I am tearing up. I know how it feels to lose your best friend, gone physically but never gone from your heart. Those are memories your hold onto, you cherish much as Tommy Jack has. There is also the love affair between Tommy Jack and Shirley. A war time love born out of desperation, anything to help him survive in the jungle, but which developed into something real and lasting once they met in person. It is also an un-resolved love that's been put on hold for decades.
I selected this book mostly based on the information that the author Eric Gansworth is a First Nations Author. He is a member of the Onondaga Nation. I started searching out and reading book by First Nations authors over two years ago as part of a Canadian Reading Challenge. I truly enjoyed reading the books I found and have continued to search out more such authors. Mr. Gansworth is an author who's works I look forward to reading more of.
Thanks to NetGalley and Milkweed Editions for this ebook.
Eric Gansworth's website
Cover photo from Amazon.ca