Zinn (The Happiness Lottery, 2011, etc.) returns with a novel that chronicles the trials of a wandering cowboy who learns to take life by the horns.
Tyler “Ty” McNeil makes his living running rodeo shows, just like his father, now deceased, did. Ty spends several years traveling far from home to do so, which strains his marriage. He eventually chooses the rodeo over his wife, finding himself alone and unfulfilled. As a result, Ty makes a radical decision to take control of his life and live it on his own terms. Rather than blindly following the direction of others, Ty now desires to direct his own path, regardless of his obligations. The peace he makes and his thoughts on life as he grows older are magnificently captured through intermittent reflections. Ty abandons the rodeo and sets his sights on a ranch back home in southwestern Arizona. Zinn’s characterization is purposeful, deep and rich; each character is well-developed and instrumental to the story. An intriguing mix of cultures populates the novel: Anglos, Mexicans, Native Americans and mixed-blood families. Although the story chronicles the changes in Ty’s life over the course of two generations, the setting takes almost equal precedence, brought to life by vivid descriptions of the landscape. Among several entwined themes, family and its different permutations are at the heart of the novel: The rejection of Ty’s biological son contrasts Ty’s relationship with his adopted daughter. The author’s love for Arizona is immersed in her lyrical writing, as the impact of environment on family is threaded wonderfully into various plotlines.
An eloquent, refreshing perspective on the struggles faced by those living along the Mexican border.