Zinn (The Happiness Lottery, 2011, etc.) returns with a novel that chronicles the trials of a wandering cowboy wholearns to take life by the horns.
Tyler “Ty” McNeil makes his living running rodeo shows, just like his father, now deceased, did. Ty spends several years traveling far from home to do so, which strains his marriage. He eventually chooses the rodeo over his wife, finding himself alone and unfulfilled. As a result, Ty makes a radical decision to take control of his life and live it on his own terms. Rather than blindly following the direction of others, Ty now desires to direct his own path, regardless of his obligations. The peace he makes and his thoughts on life as he grows older are magnificently captured through intermittent reflections. Ty abandons the rodeo and sets his sights back home on a ranch in southwestern Arizona. Zinn’s characterization is purposeful, deep and rich; each character is well developed and instrumental to the story. An intriguing mix of cultures populates the novel: Anglos, Mexicans, Native Americans and mixed-blood families. Although the story chronicles the changes in Ty’s life over the course of two generations, the setting takes almost equal precedence, brought to life by vivid descriptions of the landscape. Among several entwined themes, family and its different permutations are at the heart of the novel: The rejection of Ty’s biological son contrasts Ty’s relationship with his adopted daughter. The author’s love for Arizona is immersed in her lyrical writing, as the impact of environment on family is threaded wonderfully into various plotlines.
An eloquent, refreshing perspective of the struggles faced by those living along the Mexican border.
From The San Francisco Book Review:
By Elizabeth Zinn
CreateSpace, $13.95, 254 pages
Star Rating: 5 out of 5
I've been to Arizona once, and this book reminds me of the desert landscape and the people there better than any picture I took. The plot of this story follows one man, Tyler McNeil, or you can just call him Ty. After the death of his parents and a failed marriage, Ty gets the urge to move to a home near the border of Mexico, in Arizona. As he leaves rodeo life behind, he buys a rough rodeo horse named Red-Eye, a horse that is beaten up and headed for slaughter. This is a second chance for both of them. Starting over fresh on the ranch, Ty unexpectedly becomes a father. Lita, his adopted daughter, is now the center of his life and a new source of strength and anxiety. Of course, this life is not without twists and turns. Lita's birth father resurfaces, close friends die, and a deep secret about Ty's past threatens to undo his new family. It is these struggles that make this a great book. Along with friends and family, Ty builds a new life and shows that everyone deserves a second chance.
The central theme in the book is that family and blood ties are not needed to feel connected. In fact, a relationship built on circumstance can be even stronger than a connection of blood. Every character, and even the animals, feels genuine in this book. I loved Blue, the old family dog, who would sit in the hallway and protect baby Lita. I even cried when Suzanne died of cancer. After reading this book, the people in it will stay with you forever--that is how powerful these
s characters are emotionally. Another great aspect of the book is the interesting mix of American, Mexican, and Indian culture - much like the Southwest itself. It is an honest and true representation of that lifestyle. Heart's Blood is a nostalgic western mixed with a modern drama, primed with enough action to keep you wanting more. But the best thing about this book is its heart.