Ruthie Fear by Maxim Loskutoff
English | 2020 | Mystery/Thriller | ePUB | 3.2 MB
In this haunting parable of the American West, a young woman faces the violent past of her remote Montana valley.
As a child in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Ruthie Fear sees an apparition: a strange, headless creature near a canyon creek. Its presence haunts her throughout her youth. Raised in a trailer by her stubborn, bowhunting father, Ruthie develops a powerful connection with the natural world but struggles to find her place in a society shaped by men. Development, gun violence, and her father’s vendettas threaten her mountain home. As she comes of age, her small community begins to fracture in the face of class tension and encroaching natural disaster, and the creature she saw long ago reappears as a portent of the valley’s final reckoning.
An entirely new kind of western and the first novel from one of this generation’s most wildly imaginative writers, Ruthie Fear captures the destruction and rebirth of the modern American West with warmth, urgency, and grandeur. The Technicolor bursts of action that test Ruthie’s commitment to the valley and its people invite us to look closer at our nation’s complicated legacy of manifest destiny, mass shootings, and environmental destruction. Anchored by its unforgettable heroine, Ruthie Fear presents the rural West as a place balanced on a knife-edge, at war with itself, but still unbearably beautiful and full of love.
Her father’s Auto-5 shotgun broke her reverie, and shattered the skeleton into a mass of flapping, twisting parts. One tumbled down to the ice-covered pond before them. It landed silently in a puff of snow. The rest of the flock reassembled, carried on, and were lost in the shadow of the Sapphire Mountains. Her father cursed and lowered the gun. White frost clung to his red beard. “Pulled too early,” he said. His orange cap was the brightest piece of the morning world. Ruthie struggled to understand: one moment the skeleton, the next a dying goose. Smoke threaded up from the gun barrel in a mirror of her father’s breath. The goose dragged itself across the ice with a broken wing, making not for the shore but the center as though it would be met there in safety by a healing force.
The cold air stung Ruthie’s throat. Sudden warmth ached behind her eyes. She mourned the loss of the winged skeleton much more than the goose dying in front of her. The impossible distances it had crossed. The freedom to move from galaxy to galaxy, feeding on light, while her own life was confined to the trailer she shared with her father, and the valley that surrounded them. The goose collapsed. Only its unbroken wing continued to beat weakly against the ice in steady, desperate cadence. Her father cursed again. He breached the stock and emptied the spent shells into the snow. Gunpowder’s acrid ammonia smell wafted out. “Point away,” he said, handing Ruthie the shotgun. “Not at me, not at you.” Ruthie gripped the warm barrel to her chest. She wished the skeleton had passed overhead. That it had streamed on to Las Vegas or Cancún or one of the other exotic places, populated by bikini-clad women, on the posters on her father’s bedroom wall. He was only twenty-four, not much more than a child himself.
Together they stood before the world.
He turned and picked his way down through the brush to the edge of the pond. He paused on the shore, his eyes narrowed against the cold, his eyebrows drawn together in determination. “Never do this,” he said.