I received a free copy of American Copper from Unbridled Books for my honest review.
About the Book:
Set in Montana during the first third of the 20th century, American Copper explores the journeys of three intertwined lives: Evelynne, herself the daughter of a fierce and possessive copper baron; Zion, a lonely steer wrestler and barroom brawler from Montana’s northern highline; and William Black Kettle, a Cheyenne team roper descended from a line of peace chiefs. Their stories offer a powerful and poignant elegy to horses, the stubbornness of racism, the entanglements of people desperate to reinvent themselves in the violent shadow of the American West, and the surprising potential for unlikely love.
About the Author:
Shann Ray grew up in Montana, played college basketball at Montana State University and Pepperdine University and professional basketball in Germany. Among other places, his work has appeared in the Best New Poets and The Better of McSweeney’s anthologies, and been selected as notable in the Best American Nonrequired Reading andBest of the West, and as a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award. He now lives with his wife and three daughters in Spokane, Washington where he teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University. American Copper is his debut novel.
I first read about American Copper in my local newspaper and was quite intrigued. I am very interested in the history of my new home state; the good and the bad. Montana is known as the treasure state and it has a wealth of them – underground and above. It’s a land of coal, silver, copper, and gold below and of unparalleled beauty above. It has exploited both since it was discovered much to the resident’s detriment and benefit. One only has to see Glacier, Yellowstone or any of the state parks to appreciate the beauty and then look to the Berkeley Pit or any of the many other Superfund sites in the state for the destruction ravaged upon the state in the service of the mining industry.
But American Copper is so much more than a book about copper mining, it’s my 5th 5 star book of the year. It takes place in the early part of the last century. It was a time of growth and expansion for the country and Montana. Mr. Ray has a magical way with words and is especially skilled with creating mood and drawing his reader into the world of his characters.
The book is at it’s heart a story, as they say, as old as time. In more ways than one. Perhaps it’s really two stories; the story of the love of two men for one woman and the story of the evil that is done to those deemed different. In this case it’s the Cheyenne and to a degree the Chinese. The plot is not one I’d call fast paced but the writing is so magical it carries you along as you read about the good, bad and just awful of the loves and lives of the characters in American Copper.