In a new novel from the best-selling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, a young ranch hand escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider.
In 1938, nineteen-year-old ranch hand Bud Frazer sets out for Hollywood. His little sister has been gone a couple of years now, his parents are finding ranch work and comfort for their loss where they can, but for Bud, Echol Creek, where he grew up and first learned to ride, is a place he can no longer call home. So he sets his sights on becoming a stunt rider in the movies — and rubbing shoulders with the great screen cowboys of his youth.
On the long bus ride south, Bud meets a young woman who also harbors dreams of making it in the movies, though not as a starlet but as a writer, a real writer. Lily Shaw is bold and outspoken, confident in ways out of proportion with her small frame and bookish looks. But the two strike up an unlikely kinship that will carry them through their tumultuous days in Hollywood — and, as it happens, for the rest of their lives.
Acutely observed, Falling from Horses charts what was to be a glittering year in the movie business through the wide eyes and lofty dreams of two people trying to make their mark on the world, or at least make their way in it. Molly Gloss weaves a remarkable tale of humans and horses, hope and heartbreak, narrated by one of the most winning narrators ever to walk off the page.
“I read Falling from Horses in two gulps. The writing is gorgeous, the setting so beautifully realized, both time and place, the narrative voice unforgettable, and all the characters so real and compelling. Tremendous, page-turning . . . I could not have loved it more.” — Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club
“The story of a boy growing up into a man by way of ambition, adventure, catastrophe, love, and grief. A beautiful, moving novel, cut from the American heartwood.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Lavinia and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Short Stories
“Molly Gloss is always exploring that dangerous place where reality and imagination combine to form the American West, and never more than in this book, plunging as it does into the heart of the dream machine. She has a tremendous gift for bringing a situation alive, so be ready: you’re about to live these lives. It’s a great experience.” — Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Shaman and 2312
“Falling from Horses is a beautifully crafted story of the friendship that develops between two young people—a ranch hand and an aspiring screenwriter—as they try to make it in the movies in 1930s Hollywood. Molly Gloss makes the little seen life of a movie stuntman and a back lot script girl come alive in this entertaining and often touching tale of a naive young man and woman who are trying to live their dreams.” — Phillip Margolin, New York Times best-selling author of Worthy Brown's Daughter
“Falling From Horses is a clear-eyed, breathtaking look at a small corner of life unknown to most: cowboy stunt riders in 1930s Hollywood. Gloss adeptly brings to life characters in search of the American Dream, while illuminating the “myth of the cowboy West” and the harsh realities that come along with it. A moving story filled with heart and insight by an author whose love of the American landscape rings loudly through each page.” — Gail Tsukiyama, author of A Hundred Flowers and The Samurai’s Garden
“The acute sense of time and place, coupled with a cast From the bestselling author of The Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek, an absorbing, plainspoken, elegantly rendered novel about a young cowboy who escapes a family tragedy and travels to Hollywood to become a stunt rider in the movies