Ecco Press gifted me an advance copy of The Trackers by Charles Frazier, which will likely be released next month. And it’s definitely worth the read. For those who are both interested and not interested in this book after a first glace of its synopsis: keep in mind that while the synopsis of the book accurately summarizes what happens in the novel, it’s Frazier’s writing style and the cinematic characters and images in the novel that will keep you hooked while reading it.

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of cowboys and westerns, at all. I was originally drawn to this novel because the main character is an artist and because it takes place during Depression-era America. However, after reading it, I still believe those who enjoy westerns and cowboy narratives will enjoy this novel, too.

The Trackers captures the essence of Depression-era America by remarkably capturing, and painting, what’s missing from Depression-era America. This story is about what and who is seen, as much as what and who isn’t seen. And what’s said and known, as much as what isn’t said and known. Somehow I walked away from this book sensing this pivotal historical era and the characters depicted in it vividly, while also remaining utterly mystified and curious about them. It’s as if you become a tracker of time, space, and people, as you read.

The Trackers also has a cinematic quality to it, as I imagined the book unfolding on the silver screen as I read it. I would love to see this book come alive on the silver screen eventually. And while you read, you’ll become hooked and need to know what happens.

More than anything, the lit geek in me loved the underlying philosophical questions this novel prompts about the nature of art itself and its subjects, and how and if they (subjects of an artwork) can ever be tracked down as they were in real life, and if so, would we want them to be? Or is all artwork part fiction and part fact– regardless of what an artist’s original intention and vision look like? Therefore revealing the beauty of all art: its fleeting yet perennially authentic qualities. And what we, as consumers of art, attribute to it?

I would recommend this novel to readers of all types and genres because there is a bit of everything for everyone within its pages. Yet its core narrative and literary integrity are never sacrificed, which is no small feat.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

For more information about this novel, see the summary of The Trackers on Goodreads.

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