Monday, December 15, 2008


Alissa York.
It’s probably one of the most self-centered of things we say, “I’ve discovered a great new author.”
A) The author is probably not as “new” as you think he or she is.
B) They had a perfectly valid existence prior to your “discovering” them.

But it’s understandable though. When we stumble across the work of an author we have not read before, we feel as though we have “discovered” them. As though, prior to this momentous occasion, they were some sort of being-less entity.
So we pick up their book at the store, and something stirs us, to take it home.
It’s probably closer to the truth to say that they have discovered us. Or rather, their work has found us.
I am only a hundred pages in, but Effigy is proving to be one of those rare finds, one of those books that “discover” you. An exquisite, lyrical, layered treasure.
You wish the rest of the world would just shut the hell down and let you read……


Dorrie, a pale girl with a mass of black hair, cannot recall anything of her life before she recovered from an illness at the age of seven. A solitary child, she dedicates herself to learning the art of taxidermy, fascinated by the act of bringing new and eternal life to the bodies of the dead. At fourteen, her parents marry her off to Erastus Hammer, a polygamous horse rancher and renowned hunter, whose desire to see his kills preserved is made urgent by the fact that he is slowly going blind. Dorrie secludes herself in her workshop, away from the rivalries among the elder wives.
As the novel opens, Hammer has brought Dorrie his latest kills, a family of wolves, and for the first time in her short life she struggles with her craft, dreaming each night of crows and strange scenes of violence. The new ranch hand, Bendy Drown, is the only one to see her dilemma and offer her help, a dangerous game in a Mormon household. Outside, a lone wolf prowls the grounds looking for his lost pack, and his nocturnal searching will unearth the tensions and secrets of this complicated and conflicted family.

[The above synopsis lifted from the author’s homepage.]
Visit Alissa York HERE.



Jeane said...

Wow, that sounds like such a strange and curious book. Taxidermy? Mormon polygamy? I'm going to look for more about this book.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this sounds interesting. Can't wait to hear more.

Anonymous said...

Jeane and Stafanie, I have to agree with cipriano.

I have been riveted to this book and now I want to read York's other work. The style is lyrical (someone told me that was a good word for it) and the storyline of ALL the characters (and what a cast there is) holds my interest. The book holds a lot of cruelty and violence - hunting as well as the way people treat each other - but it is kind of like a slow motion, in depth patterning of various characters' obsessions.

Never has a book sounded less like something I would want to immerse myself into - but not for a long time have I found myself so wound into a story!

Go get it. You will love this book. He's right.

Cipriano said...

It is great to have elicited such fanfare.
Yes, it is a remarkable book.
This is an author who has me.
I'd buy her next [or former, for that matter] book without reading the dustjacket or blurb.

Merisi said...

I see you entered book lovers' heaven. AGain.
It is a wonderful world,
the world of books,
"the book opens,
you fall in"
(this quote is from a Mary Englbreit poster I own).

Word verif:
The Queen and the King.
Wonder which novel that is. ;-)