A novel of one family, a century of war, and the promise of homecoming from Dayton Literary Peace Prize winner and National Book Award finalist Andrew Krivak
Rooted in the small, mountain town of Dardan, Pennsylvania, where patriarch Jozef Vinich settled after surviving World War I, Like the Appearance of Horses immerses us in the intimate lives of a family whose fierce bonds have been shaped by the great conflicts of the past century.
After Bexhet Konar escapes fascist Hungary and crosses the ocean to find Jozef, the man who saved his life in 1919, he falls in love with Jozef’s daughter, Hannah, enlists in World War II, and is drawn into a personal war of revenge. Many years later, their youngest son, Samuel, is taken prisoner in Vietnam and returns home with a heroin addiction and deep physical and psychological wounds. As Samuel travels his own path toward healing, his son will graduate from Annapolis as a Marine on his way to Iraq.
In spare, breathtaking prose, Like the Appearance of Horses is the freestanding, culminating novel in Andrew Krivak’s award-winning Dardan Trilogy, which began with The Sojourn and The Signal Flame. It is a story about borders drawn within families as well as around nations, and redrawn by ethnicity, prejudice, and war. It is also a tender story of love and how it is tested by duty, loyalty, and honor.
Andrew Krivak is the author of The Bear, a Mountain Book Competition winner, Massachusetts Book Award winner, and NEA Big Read selection, as well as the novels of the Dardan Trilogy: The Sojourn, a National Book Award finalist and winner of both the Chautauqua Prize and Dayton Literary Peace Prize; The Signal Flame, a Chautauqua Prize finalist; and Like the Appearance of Horses. He lives with his wife and three children in Somerville, Massachusetts, and Jaffrey, New Hampshire.
Praise for Like the Appearance of Horses
Library Journal “Best Literary Fiction of the Year” selection Washington Independent Review of Books “Favorite Books of the Year” selection Saturday Evening Post “Hot Weather” selection
“Raises provocative questions about how we perceive and engage with the past and is a further testament to Krivak’s masterful abilities as a storyteller.” —WBUR
“Forceful and absorbing.” —WOSU
“Lyrical, moving. . . . While Krivak depicts the violence of war with frightening intimacy, he’s also attuned to the persistence of beauty and grace in nature and in what love endures.” —Fordham Magazine
“A startling clarity characterizes [Krivak’s] language, which can only be called luminous.” —Washington Independent Review of Books
“[Krivak’s] prose is spare and exquisite, breathing life into the mountains, the forests, and the foxholes these characters inhabit. A beautifully emotional and delicate novel.” —Historical Novels Review
“Krivak’s resplendent multigenerational family saga expertly braids the horrors of war with the struggles of those waiting for loved ones to return home.” —Booklist (starred review)
“[An] intensely readable whopper of a book.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Subtle and nuanced.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Krivak impresses with this layered story of deferred homecomings and the elusive nature of peace.” —Publishers Weekly
“Compelling and deftly crafted.” —Midwest Book Review
“Andrew Krivak charts a razor-fine line between war and peace, damnation and redemption, estrangement and love, and along the way gives us a gorgeously detailed portrait of an American family. Whether he’s writing about battle, the natural world, or the most private, searing matters of the heart, Krivak brings a rare mastery to the page, a synthesis of language and deep perception that delivers revelation after revelation. Like the Appearance of Horses is a major achievement.” —Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and Devil Makes Three
“Krivak’s Homeric novel is at once intimate and sweeping, expanding an epic story set into motion in The Sojourn. Tenderly attentive to all that is given and taken by war, Like the Appearance of Horses is a graceful, heroic accomplishment that speaks to the costs of duty when violence is as constant as the Pennsylvania mountains that anchor and separate this indelible family we’ve come to know so personally.” —Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors
Select Praise for Andrew Krivak
“Some writers are good at drawing a literary curtain over reality, and then there are writers who raise the veil and lead us to see for the first time. Krivak belongs to the latter.” —National Book Award judges’ citation
“[Krivak’s] work has been compared to William Faulkner’s in its rich sense of place, to Wendell Berry’s in its attentiveness to natural beauty, and to Cormac McCarthy’s in its deep investigation of violence and myth. Yet all of Krivak’s writing, and especially his fiction, presents a truly singular vision.” —Anthony Domestico, Image
“An extraordinarily elegant writer, with a deep awareness of the natural world.” —Roxana Robinson, New York Times Book Review
“Eloquent, sensitive.” —Jennifer Haigh, Boston Globe
“Incandescent.” —Marlon James
“Spare and lovely.” —Adam Johnson
“Grand and unforgettable.” —Maaza Mengiste
“A writer of rare and powerful elegance.” —Mary Doria Russell
“Destined for great things.” —Richard Russo
“[A] singular talent.” —Jesmyn Ward
“Explores themes that profoundly resonate today.” —Harper’s Bazaar