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In one hand, Jesse Breedlove holds a bottle of Cuervo Gold—or what’s left of it—in the other, the shovel with which he has just unearthed the bones of a small girl buried in the cellar of a Catholic church in Omaha, Nebraska. So begins Breedlove’s odyssey across the literal and mythical landscapes of America, bearing the finely articulated body he has uncovered, bones that would neither rest nor, in their restless eloquence, let him remain silent. Through the heart of the United States, this mover of bones encounters people who live on the geographical and emotional margins and who find that his presence and his plight summon their voices. Rumors surface and reports multiply as the lonely, the addicted, the isolated, the damned, the pure of heart, and the holy sane speak. From the dark and distant edges of society, they bear witness—sometimes directly, sometimes obliquely—to what the mover of bones and his burden mean.
Defiler, redeemer, sinner, or saint—Breedlove is the stuff myths are made of, and The Mover of Bones, the first of the Tall Grass Trilogy of novels by Robert Vivian, evokes a collective dream of the heartland.
Robert Vivian is a professor of English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan and a core faculty member in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of, most recently, The Least Cricket of Evening, and of the Tall Grass Trilogy, which includes Lamb Bright Saviors and Another Burning Kingdom, all available from the University of Nebraska Press.