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"Passionately arresting ... [Zupan's] sentences are unleashed in a furious splendor.... bleak and brilliant-the best kind of book."-Minneapolis Star Tribune
One of finest evocations of life in Western America in recent memory ... A powerful and profoundly moving story about the heartbroken souls of women and men who are attempting to fashion significant lives in the grassy plains of Montana."-William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky
Steeped in the lonesome Montana country, unyielding as it is beautiful, The Ploughmen is the story of two men-an aging killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy-who sit across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell. John Gload is a killer so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced a long-term jail sentence. Valentine Millimaki, the low man in the Copper County sheriff's department, is the unfortunate soul who draws the overnight shift after Gload's arrest. Soon, though, the conversations between Gload and Millimaki grow familiar, and the troubled young sheriff finds himself seeking counsel from a man he's sworn to keep behind bars, a man whose dark past shares something essential with his own. Zupan, also a carpenter, "writes with the precision of his trade" (The New York Times Book Review) and delivers a new classic of the American west.