Funerals for Horses, Catherine Ryan Hyde's critically acclaimed first novel (initially published in 1997), is a deeply felt and heartrending story of redemption and love, disappearance and faithfulness, by the author who would go on to be known for the best-selling Don't Let Me Go and Pay It Forward.
Ella Ginsberg's brother, Simon, has disappeared. His clothing, shoes, and watch were found abandoned near a freight line track in Central California. His jockey shorts and wallet were never found. The police have no clue, and Simon's wife had no warning that anything was wrong.
Ella takes off on foot across much of California and Arizona, thinking she can find Simon using nothing but her knowledge of the way he might think. Her search leads her to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where she is helped and befriended by three Native Americans and an aged paint horse named Yozzie.
Ella has serious mental health issues, and Simon, who raised her, is still the most important person in her shaky world. Only maybe it's not as unstable as it looks from the outside. Maybe inside Ella, a core of unexpected strength is emerging. Maybe Ella is even stronger than the brother who held her family's lives together for so long.
"A tale of sibling loyalty, madness, pain, and redemption. In this restrained but compelling narrative, Hyde movingly conveys the toll of years of emotional damage." (Publishers Weekly)
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Good but not great
- Candace Hynes