Matt Pavelich Our Savage: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781593760670

Our Savage: A Novel

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9781593760670: Our Savage: A Novel
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In 1865 a baby too large a baby to pass through anyone’s hips is born to a couple at the crumbling edge of Europe where the horror of pending war is already in the air. By any measure too large, our hero can develop no patience for his determined, dinky fellows, and so from the Balkan backwater of his birth and his youth as a precocious highwayman, to intrigues at court in Vienna, the problem remains the same he is by one means or another continually wearing out his welcome.

In this bawdy first novel by Matt Pavelich, Danny Savage migrates to the New World in 1899, where he finally settles an empty, rough corner of Wyoming with his epic shrew of a wife, Stoja. In Savage's wake are spent empires, ruptured families, collateral lives that have touched and fallen away.

Matt Pavelich has given us a giant's coat tails to ride upon, let us wear for a while his seven-league boots.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Difficult to classify, this striking, perplexing first novel is made up of stories that swirl around its strange protagonist and his picaresque adventures. In the darkness of the midâ€"19th-century Balkan hinterlands, Danilo Lazich's birth kills his mother; he is simply too large a baby for her to bear and live. The giant of a child eventually becomes an infamous young highwayman and travels to Vienna, where he is "collected" by the Empress Elisabeth, who employs him as a bodyguard and physical curiosity over her husband's objections. As the clouds of war gather in the region, Danilo, now known as Daniel Savage, marries the spinster daughter of an innkeeper and sometimes revolutionary. Her dowry is a ticket to Montana, where Savage, now calling himself Danny, takes his ill-tempered bride. There he becomes involved in the lives of the region's miners, then relocates to Wyoming, where he turns himself into a feared and respected entrepreneur. What saves the novel from becoming an unsatisfactory leapfrog through time and space and a simple showcase for Savage's superior intellect and rapacious curiosity is Pavelich's lyricism and original wit. Sketches of minor characters are evocative and memorable, although all too often these characters are abandoned before they are fully integrated into the story. Plot connections are frequently skipped as the story breaks off, then resumes awkwardly and bewilderingly in a different place and different time. The result is a frustrating sense of incompletion, though Pavelich's stylistic flourishes and cunning vignettes give the novel flair.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

In this first novel, Pavelich tells the epic story of Danny Savage. Born in a forgotten backwater of the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire, he was a man of gigantic proportions. Forced out into the countryside by his father, who could no longer afford to feed him, this boy-giant became the legendary Vuk Hajduk--the highwayman, the wolf. Fleeing the authorities, he made his way to Vienna, and in this most worldly of capitals, he became a darling of the aging and eccentric Empress Elisabeth. Falling out of favor with the authorities, he found passage to the U.S., along with his shrewish wife who harbored a vengeful grudge toward him throughout his life. He eventually landed in the great open spaces of the West, where he settled along with many other fellow Slavs. Amid harsh mining towns he prospered, raised his family, and found peace. This tale of a gentle giant is a rapturous and remarkable look at both the failing of European power and the settlement of the West in the early twentieth century. Michael Spinella
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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