Prairie Fever

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The Stewart sisters, Elise and Lorena, live on the Oklahoma prairie in the remote town of Lone Wolf. They’re far from what passes for “town” but the girls don’t feel isolated when they’re together. They have a strong bond rooted in a shared sense of humor and keen intelligence. Their kind but unqualified teacher, Gus McQueen, is drawn to both girls, though he favors Lorena. When Elise sneaks away from school in a blizzard and becomes lost and stranded with her horse, Sandy, Gus, and Lorena save her life–though Elise still loses toes, a finger, and a bit of her nose; and injured Sandy must be killed. This wounding incident becomes part of their shared history, altering the course of their lives and bringing even the most devoted relationships to a crisis point. The sisters who once traveled to school on horseback, pinned together under a blanket to stay warm, lose touch for decades.

The landscape of Prairie Fever is extreme and unforgiving, yet there is an unexpected lightness to Elise’s world. She teeters between reality and fantasy, though her unconventional worldview is willful and self-aware; her fantastical stories about Sandy serve as both self-protection and homage to a beloved creature. The hurt between Elise and Lorena is deep, but the letters they write when they begin making their way back to each other are full of humor as well as anguish, suggesting that some bonds are strong enough to surpass even the most painful betrayal. Love often comes at a cost, but it’s not always a permanent loss.


Reviewed By:

Author Michael Parker
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 2019-05-21
ISBN 9781616208530
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Modern Literature
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