Fiction Jonis Agee The Weight of Dreams

ISBN 13: 9780140291889

The Weight of Dreams

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9780140291889: The Weight of Dreams

Abandoned by his mother after the accidental death of his beloved younger brother, Ty Bonte spends his days working on the family ranch with his violent father and his nights marauding with his mean-spirited drinking buddy, Harney Rivers. When a drunken fight escalates into the near-death of a young Indian, Ty flees his Nebraska home. Twenty-two years later, Ty is a horse trainer in Kansas, sharing his life with a young woman named Dakota. Their comfortable existence is shattered by a visit from Harney, who commits an act of brutality that forces Ty to face up to his own violent past. Returning to Nebraska, he finds his dying father fighting the bank's foreclosure on the ranch. In an explosive courtroom confrontation with Harney, Ty finally comes to terms with the past and in the process is able to forgive himself and his family.

"Connect to and enlarge upon the myth of the Wild West . . . and vividly portray cowboy life in all of its degradation, violence, and romance."--Chicago Tribune

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Review:

In her earlier novel South of Resurrection, Jonis Agee seemed bent on refuting Thomas Wolfe: you can go home again, though sometimes it's easier not to. The Weight of Dreams finds her returning to the same thematic territory in a sweeping, ambitious novel about nothing less than good and evil, writ on a vast Western scale. Home, for Ty Bonte, is the hardscrabble Nebraska Sandhills, where he's been doing "a man's work" on the family ranch since the age of 8. Unfortunately, he's also been taking a man's share of punishment--his mother's abandonment, his father's abuse, even his own guilt over his baby brother's accidental death. Small wonder, then, that Ty turns into something of a delinquent, especially when he joins forces with Harney Rivers. Rich kid, sadist, drug dealer--"the boy who could put his hands on anything illegal"--Harney gets Ty into even more trouble than he could on his own. When they pick up a pair of Indian hitchhikers one bitterly cold winter night, the violence that subsequently erupts will change all four of their lives forever.

Twenty years later, Ty is living in Kansas, where he owns a small, hard-won farm and trades horses for a living. He's made a sober, reasonably successful life for himself, but is still haunted by the repercussions of his past--which include an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Then one day Ty picks up a mysterious woman named Dakota along with a load of horses, and the past comes knocking on his door in the form of Harney Rivers. Before the novel is through, Ty will have to make amends for the crimes of his youth--and in the process, redefine what it means to go home. Gritty depictions of ranch life; lyrical evocations of the stark Nebraska landscape; a romance that feels both passionate and true: there is much to admire here, even when the entire package feels somewhat overlong. For one thing, Agee evokes the horse life so vividly that you can practically smell it--and among her characters, only the impossibly evil Harney comes off as less than true-to-life. In the end, flaws like these count for little when weighed against Agee's vivid portrait of place. --Chloe Byrne

From the Publisher:

"The Weight of Dreams is a book you'll want to sink into, its vast and rich landscapes, its broken and hopeful characters, its broad reach through time and space, and every hidden corner of the human heart. Jonis Agee tells this story with consonance and generosity, a finely tuned ear and the spirit a swild as a Sand Hills horse." --- Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

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