High as the Horses’ Bridles Pdf Summary
It’s 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah’s nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer’s imagination running wild? Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, memories of the past–of his childhood friend Issy, of his first love, of the mother he has yet to properly mourn–overwhelm him at every turn. When he arrives at his family’s old house, he’s completely unprepared for what he finds. How far back must one man journey to heal a broken bond between father and son?
In rhapsodic language steeped in the oral tradition of American evangelism, Scott Cheshire brings us under his spell. Remarkable in scale–moving from 1980 Queens, to sunny present-day California, to a tent revival in nineteenth century rural Kentucky–and shot-through with the power and danger of belief and the love that binds generations, High as the Horses’ Bridles is a bold, heartbreaking debut from a big new American voice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating and Compelling
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 27, 2014
Stunning, bold and beautiful. This may be Cheshire’s first novel, but from the first page it is clear to readers that they are in the gentle hands of a master craftsman. The story of reluctant child prophet Josiah Laudermilk oscillates throughout time, dipping and spinning through present, past and history, creating a multi-layered portrait of the American religious experience. The narrative focuses on Josiah’s return to his ailing, mentally unstable father and their complicated relationship, but also explores haunting questions: what does it mean to believe? To embrace doubt? To love and be loved in return? To what extend are we shaped by those that came before us? High as the Horses’ Bridles is thought provoking without straying from the essential elements of a near perfectly crafted story. Well-done!
3.0 out of 5 stars The end of the world is near but who knows when?
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 8, 2014
A worthy first novel probing the mind and heart of a bizarre quasi-evangelical subculture. Cheshire hints at why Christian apocalypticism is a continuing tendency, appealing to some religious seekers who feel alienated from society.
He has given insightful interviews on his study of premillennial theological thinking (See 7/6/14: Electric Lit). He cites Wm. James’ view that while the religious agree with the universe, the non-religious agree to it. End-time believers seem to have created their own universe.
3.0 out of 5 stars Are you a butter person?
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 10, 2014
This is a novel about a child evangelist/prophet from Queens, N.Y., who grows up to be an owner of a failing chain of computer stores in Southern California, has a Jewish ex-wife, still smokes cigarettes in 2005, while his widowed father continues to study the Old Testament while falling into dementia. The critics tell us this is a novel about love, among other things; I wouldn’t know, I thought Barbara Cartland’s books are about love. To me this is a book about relationships, perhaps (unfortunately) the most popular topic of mainstreet American novels, you know, divorces, elderly parents, employees, divorces, procreational dilemmas – should we or should we not have children, divorces. The hero’s wife undergoes an abortion, which is referred to in the novel in an offhand manner, with a shrug you might say.
There is an avalanche of details here about utterly mundane everyday things. For example:
“Three hours I stayed in that storeroom. Three hours before coming out for air, and for lunch, and for something to
drink because I was thirsty–and what did I find? Cold coffee, a crumpled brown paper bag, and a burrito
half-congealed with cheese, poking out its head from a foil sleeping bag. All of this looking lonely on a cardboard box
outside the storeroom door.”
Then, on next page (187):
“What is it about California burritos? Why can’t the other forty-nine states get it right? Or even close?”
One more page, and the three page chapter closes.
Twenty four pages later, the poor shlub of a narrator confesses that “I’m not a butter person”. And so on, what one star reviewers label “boring”.
I struggled reading this novel, waiting for it to get better or end, throwing it into the fireplace, then retrieving it, only because I like to finish my hardcover books. Maybe it’s all because I am a “butter person”.
And it did get better, starting with part four, and then continuing to the final chapter, written like the first one, and unlike the rest of the novel in third person singular, and describing an evangelist revival in 1801, in which an ancestor of the novel’s hero participates.
I still don’t know what to make of this novel. Is the author juxtaposing the madness, for lack of a better word, of fanatical strains of evangelical Christianity, with the emptiness of contemporary secular life?
About Scott Cheshire Author of High as the Horses’ Bridles Pdf Book
Scott Cheshire is the Author of High as the Horses’ Bridles Pdf Book (Henry Holt). His work has been published in AGNI, Electric Literature, Guernica, Harper’s, One Story, Slice, and the Picador Book of Men. He lives in New York City.
High as the Horses’ Bridles pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Henry Holt and Co.; 1st.. edition (July 8, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0805098216
- ISBN-13 : 978-0805098211
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.74 x 1.15 x 8.45 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,894,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #54,855 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction
- #149,106 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- #158,890 in American Literature (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 3.1 out of 5 stars 56 ratings
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