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READ PDF ß The Mercy Seat Ø Few first novels garner the kind of powerful praise awarded this epic story that takes place on the dusty, remorseless Oklahoma frontier, where two brothers are deadlocked in a furious rivalry Fayette is an enterprising schemer hoping to cash in on his brother s talents as a gunsmith John, determined not to repeat the crime that forced both families to flee their Kentucky homes, doggedly follows his tenacious brother west, while he watches his own family disintegrate Wondrously told through the wary eyes of John s ten year old daughter, Mattie, whose gift of premonition proves to be both a blessing and a curse, The Mercy Seat resounds with the rhythms of the Old Testament even as it explores the mysteries of the Native American spirit world Sharing Faulkner s understanding of the inescapable pull of family and history, and Cormac McCarthy s appreciation of the stark beauty of the American wilderness, Rilla Askew imbues this momentous work with her tremendous energy and emotional range It is an extraordinary novel from a prodigious new talent Strange Business, a collection of linked stories that won theOklahoma Book Award, is available from Penguin I feel disingenuinous clicking the little button next to read, because I didn t even finish this It was too easy to walk away from these unlikeable characters I don t even wonder what happened to them. Brilliant, brutal, beautiful novel of the journey west,in the 1880s, of a desperate,haunted family from Kentucky,told largely thru the eyes of Mattie, a ten year old girl when the novel starts, and a powerful,embittered, prematurely aged Soul by journey s end, although this journey West doesn t cease with arrival.Her family,fractured by sickness and death,must continually adjust to the natural hardships of moving into a wild and unforgiving landscape Askew s writing is achingly,sumptuously vivi Brilliant, brutal, beautiful novel of the journey west,in the 1880s, of a desperate,haunted family from Kentucky,told largely thru the eyes of Mattie, a ten year old girl when the novel starts, and a powerful,embittered, prematurely aged Soul by journey s end, although this journey West doesn t cease with arrival.Her family,fractured by sickness and death,must continually adjust to the natural hardships of moving into a wild and unforgiving landscape Askew s writing is achingly,sumptuously vivid,dragging the reader viscerally into the sights, smells, sounds, sensations of this stark world so that one inhabits the moments,along with the characters,with no distance between their lives and ours This, one says to oneself, this is how it must have been,this beautiful, this cruel,this alive, to exist on the frontier.This journey is also the profoundly sorrowful saga of two brothers, locked in bondage to each other thru blood love and rivalry,unable to walk away from the other,drawn in complicated orbit around each another by one s foolish pride and bad judgment and the other s loyalty each is destined to be the undoing of the other and by the examples they set, to drag all their kin and community along with them Intertwined with the Biblical Cain and Abel motif, is the story of the the Western land Oklahoma,Indian Territory itself and the root legends and beliefs of its Indian peoples,as well as the legacy of slavery and the unfinished pain of the Civil War.The characters are interconnected by Fate and choice the author s philosophical and spiritual agenda is to make us think hard about what is God s will,the line between revenge and forgiveness,and how one s soul is saved or lost.There is a crackling good story in these pages and characters fully formed,authentic western voices, who will make you re read and ponder their actions This is a dense book, a deep book,multi layered and at times elusive, and thus not for every taste It reminds me of Faulkner or Thomas Wolfe, and if you see it through, it will not disappoint Rilla Askew s Mercy Seat is in the top five of my most favorite books It s rich language just pulls you in and wraps around you like a warm, comforting blanket If you like history, especially the West, you will enjoy the book as it chronicles the story of a family moving west from Arkansas to Oklahoma and what happens when they arrive Even if you don t like history you will still enjoy the book because the characters are central to the story I watched Ms Askew do a book talk about this book Rilla Askew s Mercy Seat is in the top five of my most favorite books It s rich language just pulls you in and wraps around you like a warm, comforting blanket If you like history, especially the West, you will enjoy the book as it chronicles the story of a family moving west from Arkansas to Oklahoma and what happens when they arrive Even if you don t like history you will still enjoy the book because the characters are central to the story I watched Ms Askew do a book talk about this book at the University of Oklahoma many years ago and truly enjoyed listening to her discuss the book and her background It s one of only a few books that I would actually read again It was ok up until he middle of the story Then it just all kinda fell apart for me It described the comings and goings of the characters but with no ryme or reason The second half of the book was just kinda pointless to me I had to force my self to finish it.