About this Item
Quantity Available: 1
Title: Nine Below Zero. ;
Publisher: NY: Doubleday (1999).
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Soft cover
Edition: 1st Edition
About this title
From the acclaimed author of A Stranger in this World and Into the Great Wide Open comes a novel that explores reckless love and penetrates the unrelenting winter landscape of the American West.
Marvin Deernose, a Native American carpenter and recovering alcoholic, has just returned to his Montana hometown with hopes of finding a new start. Early one snowy morning, Marvin notices an overturned Cadillac down an embankment. After rescuing the elderly Senator Henry Neihart, who has just suffered a stroke, Marvin is invited to the Senator's estate where he is immediately drawn to Justine Gallego, the Senator's wayward, unhappily married granddaughter. As these tarnished souls recognize their profound, shared attraction, they dive headlong into a dangerous and intense affair that forever alters the course of their lives.
No one can accuse Kevin Canty of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. In his first novel, Into the Great Wide Open, he put his young lovers on a slow train to heartache; in his second, Nine Below Zero, the train derails entirely. The protagonist here is Marvin Deernose, a Native American fighting a powerful appetite for alcohol and drugs. While driving on a snowy Montana road one morning, Marvin comes across a car wreck and rescues the occupant--elderly Senator Henry Neihart. But this act of kindness only puts Marvin in harm's way as he becomes embroiled in the old man's tangled familial relations, and involved with his emotionally damaged granddaughter, Justine.
As Canty writes it, the love affair between poor, broken Justine and self-destructive Marvin is as unavoidable as it is tragic, and both characters know it. "He felt a small, sharp stab of guilt. Not only that he was fucking this rich girl, bad enough, but he was tearing himself down at the same time. When you know a thing isn't right and you do it anyway, pretending. He felt himself thin out." In the author's universe, his characters have free will, but generally make the wrong choices anyway. Dark as Nine Below Zero may be, Canty's powerful writing and multifaceted characters make it a compelling read. --Alix Wilber
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