A stunning novel of loss, memory, despair and deliverance by one of Canada’s best young fiction writers, set on a Mormon ranch in nineteenth-century Utah.
Dorrie, a shock-pale child with a mass of untameable black hair, cannot recall anything of her life before she recovered from an illness at seven. A solitary child, she spends her spare time learning the art of taxidermy, completely fascinated by the act of bringing new and eternal life to the bodies of the dead. At fourteen, her parents marry her off to Erastus Hammer, a polygamous horse breeder and renowned hunter, who does not want to bed her. The role he has in mind for his fourth and youngest wife is creator of trophies of his most impressive kills, an urgent desire in him as he is slowly going blind. Happy to be given this work, Dorrie secludes herself in her workshop, away from Mother Hammer’s watchful eyes and the rivalry between the elder wives.
But as the novel opens, Hammer has brought Dorrie his latest kills, a family of wolves, and for the first time in her short life she struggles with her craft, dreaming each night of crows and strange scenes of violence. The new hand, Bendy Drown, is the only one to see her dilemma and to offer her help, a dangerous game in a Mormon household. Outside, a lone wolf prowls the grounds looking for his lost pack, and his nighttime searching will unearth the tensions and secrets of this complicated and conflicted family.
Inspired by the real events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857, Alissa York blends fact with fiction in a haunting story of a family separated by secrets and united by faith.
From the Hardcover edition.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - DanaBurgess - LibraryThing
While cruising the stacks at the local library, I ran across 'Effigy' by Alissa York. I was immediately drawn to the cover and pleased to see it was a Giller Prize finalist. Historical fiction ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - keywestnan - LibraryThing
This is a lovely novel, set on a Mormon ranch in Utah in 1867 -- with numerous flashbacks giving us the background on the interesting, complicated characters. The center is the family of Erastus ... Read full review