An unforgettable story of men and horses, the American West, and the dream of a ticket out * A May 2012 Indie Next Pick *
Will Testerman is a young Wyoming horse trainer determined to make something of himself. Money is tight at the family ranch, where he's living again after a disastrous end to his job on the Texas show-horse circuit. He sees his chance with a beautiful quarter horse, a filly that might earn him a reputation, and spends his savings to buy her.
Armed with stories and the confidence of youth, he devotes himself to her training—first, in the familiar barns and corrals of home, then on a guest ranch in the rugged Absaroka mountains, and, in the final trial, on the glittering, treacherous polo fields of southern California.
With Boleto, Alyson Hagy delivers a masterfully told, exquisitely observed novel about our intimate relationships with animals and money, against the backdrop of a new West that is changing forever.
Alyson Hagy was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is the author of two previous novels and four collections of stories, most recently Ghosts of Wyoming. She lives and teaches in Laramie, Wyoming.
Praise for Boleto "Good stories teach us how to read them, and the opening pages of Boleto are entertaining, entrancing teachers. . . . Hagy often dazzles with her descriptions of the Wyoming landscape and wildlife. Whether its the corral of the Testerman ranch, the rugged passes of the Black Bell Ranch or the depressed outskirts of Anaheim, the settings glimmer with well-chosen metaphors." —The New York Times Book Review "[Hagy] provides an unsentimental portrait of modern-day cowboys. . . . She details each twitch of Boleto's ears in language both acute and lyrical." —The New Yorker "You come to Boleto as you would to a ranch or a polo match, for the horses. . . . Will [Testerman] ultimately learns that the pure connection between a cowboy and a horse has no corollary in the world of double-dealing humans. . . . This final discovery is surprisingly touching and bittersweet." —Wall Street Journal "[A] beautiful tale of redemption and perseverance. . . . In measured, textured prose, Hagy finesses the nuances of equestrian life, from the knowing twitch of the filly's ears to Will naming his horse 'Boleto' ('ticket'), signifying his hoped for success. Joining such resonant talents as Annie Proulx and Kent Haruf, Hagy is fast becoming a recognizable author of the American West." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) "In her gift for the language of horses, as in the beauty of her prose, Hagy will inevitably recall Annie Proulx, Kent Haruf and Cormac McCarthy. But she is writing as much about wealth and class, about work and privilege, as about horses and the Western landscape." —Washington Post Like many of hte great writers of the West, Alyson Hagy's writing is spare and eloquent. . . . The sweep of the story is reminiscent of artwork, and its solemnity has a nearly religiousintensity." —Daniel Goldin, Boswell Books, NPR.org
“Hagy follows modern-day Wyoming cowboy Will Testerman on his simple quest: to make his way in the world through his gift for working with horses, and to prove he can spot raw talent by training a quarter horse, bought cheap, into a polo pony he can sell for riches . . . Will himself is an endearing character, everything you’d want in a cowboy—honest, forthright, polite, capable, modest, yet not so squeaky clean that he makes your teeth ache. In language that is lucid and true, Hagy tells his story, one that will resound with readers long after Will Testerman rides off into the sunset.” —The Dallas Morning News
“Even if you are not a horse person, Boleto will move your spirit.” —Chicago Tribune