Jeffrey Price Improbable Fortunes: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781941729083

Improbable Fortunes: A Novel

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9781941729083: Improbable Fortunes: A Novel

Winner of the 2016 Laramie Awards for Western Fiction
Longlisted for a Reading the West Book Award
Finalist for the Colorado Book Award for Best Fiction
Finalist for the High Plains Book Awards

In Improbable Fortunes, Jeffrey Price takes us on a wild ride into Vanadium, a dusty, down-on-its-heels mining town in southwest Colorado where it would be fair to assume that nothing has ever happened. But you’d be wrong. As it turns out, quite a lot has happened, starting with a suspicious mudslide that destroys the town’s Main Street and a cowboy, Buster McCaffrey, arrested for the death of one of the richest men in America, Marvin Mallomar.

As the soon-to-retire Sheriff, Shep Dudival, investigates the circumstances surrounding the murder, it comes to light that Buster and Mallomar’s young wife were having a Cowboy Always Rings Twice affair. From there, Price takes this familiar story plot and turns it on its head folding a rococo cast of Vanadium’s characters into a timeline that begins with Vanadium’s post-WWII labor strife and ends with the Kulturkampf of present day.

While it may all seem humorous and surreal at first blush, one gets the feeling by Improbable Fortunes’ unguessable conclusion that Price has used the fictitious town of Vanadium a place without a recognizable gas station, a decent restaurant, or a clean bathroom as the Rosetta Stone for something larger.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey Price is a screenwriter best known for cowriting Who Framed Roger Rabbit, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and Shrek III. Seeking the refuge of small-town life, he moved his family from Los Angeles to southwest Colorado.

From Publishers Weekly:

Price, a screenwriter who co-wrote Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, makes his fiction debut with an exuberant tale of a foundling cowboy—think Tom Jones set in the still-Wild West. Vanadium is a moribund Colorado mining town populated by the "direct descendants of Butch Cassidy's Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, a naturally suspicious and xenophobic lot." An abandoned child, Buster McCaffrey, is rescued by the kindly town sheriff and shuttled among various Vanadium households when each of his foster fathers meet unfortunate ends. The seemingly cursed Buster is slow-witted, ingenuous, romantic, and fundamentally good-natured, a central character around whom the town's entertaining eccentrics, grotesques, benefactors, and love interests revolve. His picaresque travels from adoptive family to family, during which time he undergoes mini-apprenticeships as a tile-maker, concrete mixer, rodeo cowboy, and rancher, are briskly recounted until Buster falls in with a new father figure, Marvin Mallomar, a vacationing multimillionaire so taken with the refreshingly rustic Vanadium that he decides to build a luxurious compound there. As Mallomar uses Vanadium "as a palette for his frustrated creativity," his money floods the town, disastrously and somewhat literally. (The novel begins with a mudslide descending on Vanadium from his estate.) Some comic characters are more unconvincingly drawn than others, and Prince awkwardly shoehorns the mortgage crisis into the story, but on the whole the novel winningly animates a remote boomtown whose inhabitants have never had to struggle to keep it weird. (Mar.)\n

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Book Description Rare Bird Books, United States, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Winner of the 2016 Laramie Awards for Western FictionLonglisted for a Reading the West Book AwardFinalist for the Colorado Book Award for Best FictionFinalist for the High Plains Book AwardsIn Improbable Fortunes, Jeffrey Price takes us on a wild ride into Vanadium, a dusty, down-on-its-heels mining town in southwest Colorado where it would be fair to assume that nothing has ever happened. But you d be wrong. As it turns out, quite a lot has happened, starting with a suspicious mudslide that destroys the town s Main Street and a cowboy, Buster McCaffrey, arrested for the death of one of the richest men in America, Marvin Mallomar.As the soon-to-retire Sheriff, Shep Dudival, investigates the circumstances surrounding the murder, it comes to light that Buster and Mallomar s young wife were having a Cowboy Always Rings Twice affair. From there, Price takes this familiar story plot and turns it on its head folding a rococo cast of Vanadium s characters into a timeline that begins with Vanadium s post-WWII labor strife and ends with the Kulturkampf of present day.While it may all seem humorous and surreal at first blush, one gets the feeling by Improbable Fortunes unguessable conclusion that Price has used the fictitious town of Vanadium a place without a recognizable gas station, a decent restaurant, or a clean bathroom as the Rosetta Stone for something larger. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781941729083

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