Effigy: Mormons. Polygamy. Taxidermy. Love.

Front Cover
Macmillan, Sep 16, 2008 - Fiction - 352 pages
6 Reviews

"A small masterpiece . . . Exhilarating and genuinely fresh." ---National Post (Canada)

Set on a Mormon ranch in nineteenth-century Utah, and inspired by the real events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857, Alissa York's Effigy is a haunting story of a polygamous family united by faith but separated by secrets.

At the heart of the novel is Dorrie, the fourth wife of rancher, hunter, and horse breeder Erastus Hammer. A pale child bride with a mass of untamable black hair, she cannot recall anything of her life before she recovered from an illness at the age of seven. Her keenest pleasure lies in the act of bringing dead creatures to life through the art of taxidermy, and Hammer has married her not for love, or even lust, but so that she might make fitting trophies of his kills. The matter is urgent for Hammer, as he is slowly going blind.

Happy to be given this work, Dorrie secludes herself in her workshop world, away from Mother Hammer's watchful eye and the rivalry of the elder wives. But when Hammer brings Dorrie a whole family of wolves to fashion into a tableau, she struggles with her craft for the first time in her short life, dreaming each night of crows and strange scenes of violence. The new hand, Bendy Drown, is the only one to see her dilemma and offer her help, a dangerous game in a Mormon household.

Outside, a lone wolf prowls the grounds looking for his lost pack, and his nocturnal searching will unearth the secret tensions of this complex and conflicted family.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User 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 Review

User 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

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
3
Section 2
16
Section 3
33
Section 4
37
Section 5
54
Section 6
57
Section 7
73
Section 8
78
Section 24
196
Section 25
206
Section 26
214
Section 27
216
Section 28
228
Section 29
232
Section 30
235
Section 31
243

Section 9
80
Section 10
93
Section 11
99
Section 12
103
Section 13
119
Section 14
122
Section 15
125
Section 16
140
Section 17
146
Section 18
150
Section 19
167
Section 20
170
Section 21
173
Section 22
184
Section 23
191
Section 32
249
Section 33
252
Section 34
265
Section 35
268
Section 36
271
Section 37
281
Section 38
288
Section 39
302
Section 40
308
Section 41
317
Section 42
323
Section 43
330
Section 44
332
Section 45
341
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Alissa York's highly acclaimed first novel, Mercy, was published in 2003. Her short stories have won several awards, including the Journey Prize and the Bronwen Wallace Award, and Effigy was short-listed for the 2007 Giller Prize, Canada's largest annual prize for fiction. York has lived all over Canada, and now makes her home in Toronto with her husband.

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