A collection of stories set mostly in Montana, where life tends to be hard, money short, the land gorgeous, and relations between lovers and kin troubled.
A man performing in annual re-enactments of Custer’s Last Stand also sleeps each year with an Indian woman from the show. He remembers to call his wife, who is being treated for breast cancer, and comforts her while his lover listens. The proximity of wife and lover recurs in the disturbing “Breatharians,” in which a man’s wife continues to live on his dairy farm while his hired teen helper becomes his lover. Caught in this psychological mire is the young son who learns too much about cruelty. In the title story, a gem of pacing and menace, a man who frees a chained dog thinks of a recent breakup while he's fleeing naked in the night from the dog’s owner, Montana Bob, and his strange sidekick, Charlie Chaplin. “In Hindsight” takes a woman from 20 to 73, through a rough marriage, solitude, a love affair, and the final settling of a feud, all linked masterfully by her relation to animals. In another complex narrative, “Sun Dance” moves its main character from an accidental death on a construction site to a vision in a sweat lodge of one Indian’s fall from grace on a basketball court and then to a kind of redemption in the brutal dance of the title.
Wink doesn’t deal in the romance of the Old West or dwell on the frontier past, yet both myth and history color these highly satisfying fictions about the way men and women struggle to shape their lives.