Marchlands: A Novel

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Scribner, 1998 - Fiction - 270 pages
1 Review
In "Marchlands", Karla Kuban's stunning first novel, she introduces a troubled, intrepid, ultimately triumphant young heroine whose path to womanhood is both original and extraordinarily compelling.

Living on a thousand-acre sheep ranch, fifteen-year-old Sophie Behr can ride for hours and not see another person; her closest companion, her horse, Pablo. And Sophie often roams to think -- about Demetrio, the Mexican ranch hand who helped make the baby growing inside her; about her mother and Aunt Alice, who drink every night while watching the television news, hoping to catch a glimpse of their sons fighting in Vietnam; and about her father, who vanished one day when Sophie was four years old.

Sophie's mother -- tough, bitter, and unstable -- warns Sophie never to mention her father's name, but Sophie is compelled to find him and discover why he left. After a frighteningly violent reunion, she seeks refuge and illumination from her grandmother. At once child and woman, Sophie is a precociously wise observer of the tragedies of her own family and of the world.

It is Karla Kuban's masterful sense of place and the startling clarity of her voice that make "Marchlands" such a spectacular fiction debut.

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A polished but unpersuasive first novel about a teenager coming to grips with her family and her pregnancy. Sophie Behr's narrative of 16 crucial months in her young life features spare, elegantly ... Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Karla Kuban was a student at the Johns Hopkins University Writing Program in 1994, a James A. Michener Fellow from 1994 to 1996, and winner of a Pushcart Prize in 1997. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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