I really liked this one! But the ending didn’t do as much for me as the first 1/3 did. It all wrapped up too fast and too neatly for me. I wanted to see the struggle and the nitty gritty details! But then again, I nearly always appreciate a longer book over a shorter one, so this very could be just a me thing here and you might love it (as the rest of my book club did!)
Lone Women takes place around 1915 in the vast emptiness of a Montana fall and winter. Our main character has fled from her California family home after the strange and mysterious (to us the reader) deaths of her parents. She has fled with almost nothing but an extremely heavy trunk, and a page torn from a newspaper advertising the plots of fertile land that can be claimed in Montana, and the “paradise” to be found there. But when she gets there, it’s empty, it’s cold, and she only survives due to the goodwill of her neighbors. Then . . . things happen.
The vibes in the first third of this book are immaculate. The fleeing, the wondering what’s in the trunk, the Montana descriptions, the emptiness and hopelessness only tempered by her neighbors. Yeesh, you couldn’t pay me to go anywhere near this choice that our MC has made. And yet, this isn’t hopeless horror. There were found family vibes here, some romance, female friendship, queerness, and community against all odds. The thematic work here and the structure of the plot were so great. HOWEVER. I wanted more. I needed several conversations to be on page. I needed to see the climax of the book rather than hear about it after the fact. I just needed it to be longer. I don’t always get what I need, though! I’m fine with it.
This was my first Victor LaValle book, and I would definitely read from him again.