Everybody Reads

Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks

All the Light We Cannot See

2016 Everybody Reads Selection

Painted Horses is the story of a young woman on a journey to tame a wild landscape, the tide of progress in the middle of the “American century,” and a beautiful and passionate love story told by an extraordinary and exciting new literary voice. Rich with detail and a propulsive narrative arc, “Brooks delivers an authentic story, examining in gripping, page-turning prose what it means to live in the West” (Library Journal, starred review) in a tale of the modern and ancient, of love and fate, and heritage threatened by progress.

It is 1956. Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar—the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than the vanished past.

“Extraordinary...both intimate and sweeping in a way that may remind readers of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient... Painted Horses is, after all, one of those big, old-fashioned novels where the mundane and the unlikely coexist.”

— Booklist (Starred Review)
Malcom Brooks
Malcolm Brooks is the author of Painted Horses

Malcolm Brooks was raised in the rural foothills of the California Sierras and grew up around Gold Rush and Native American artifacts. A carpenter by trade, he has lived in Montana for most of two decades. His writing has appeared in Gray's Sporting Journal, Outside, Sports Afield, and Montana Quarterly, among others.

Learn more about Malcolm Brooks