Ron's June 2013 Staff Pick: Will Testerman, Will Testerman, Will Testerman! Who are you, Will Testerman? Boleto is Alyson Hagy’s answer. Will is a 23 year old man, raised on a ranch, comfortable on a horse, learning to be comfortable in his skin; quiet, polite, formal, striving to prove he knows.
Stacie M. Williams said of Boleto “it has the warmth of smooth, copper-colored whisky running through every page.” I couldn’t agree more:
“He rode in the very early morning sometimes. His saddle creaked like an old trapdoor in the autumn cold, and its leathers were unyielding and slick. The saddle fit like a stranger’s saddle until he warmed it. But it was a pleasure to nudge Hawk through the shadowed canals of fir and spruce, both of them making noise to alert foraging bears. Hawk’s hot breath came out in white clouds that condensed into frost on the buckles of his headstall. Will’s own nose went numb, and he had to wipe it dry with a bandanna whenever he could. But it was good to ride atop the hills and see the sun hammer its first hot spikes into the long, dark rail of the valley.”
Know what it’s like to know a horse, to ride the ranges and mountains of Wyoming and Colorado and Texas; and live and breathe the stables and taste the oats, and you have Boleto.— From Ron's Picks
May 2012 Indie Next List
“Will Testerman is a horse whisperer who journeys from rodeo to dude ranch to the polo fields searching for his niche in the world. That sounds simple and classic, but this story of a young cowboy and his horse brings the currents that roil beneath the surface of Western calm into the light of dawn. Original and beautifully told.”
— Laura DeLaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID
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.
About the Author
Alyson Hagy is the author of Ghosts of Wyoming and Snow, Ashes. Ghosts of Wyoming won the High Plains Book Award for Fiction. She lives 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