Crossing Purgatory: A Novel (Hardcover)
In the wake of family tragedy, Indiana farmer Thompson Grey takes to the Santa Fe Trail in a beautifully scripted, spare and powerful story of relationships, human frailties, and ultimately, redemption.
Winner of the 2014 WWA Spur Award for Best Western Traditional Novel & the Chaucer Award in the Western Category
In spring of 1858 Thompson Grey, a young farmer, travels to his father’s estate seeking funds to expand his holdings. Far overstaying his visit, he returns home to find that his absence has contributed to a devastating family tragedy. Haunted by remorse, Thompson abandons his farm and begins a westward exile in the attempt to outpace his grief.Unwittingly, he finds himself at journey’s end in the one place where his strongest temptations are able to over take him and once again put him to the test. Set against the backdrop of the frontier during the years just preceding the Civil War, Crossing Purgatory tells a story of unprincipled ambition, guilt, and the price one man is willing to pay for atonement.
About the Author
Gary Schanbacher was born in the Midwest, raised in Southeast Virginia, and lives just outside Denver, Colorado. His short story collection, Migration Patterns, received a PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for distinguished first works of fiction and won the Colorado Book Award, the High Plains First Book Award and the Eric Hoffer General Fiction Award. He has been a Hemingway Fellow at Ucross Foundation, serves on the board of directors of Lighthouse Writers Workshop, a non-profit writing center, and is a founding partner of The Writers Block, a writing co-community.
Schanbacher writes beautifully, but not in a showy way. He builds up characters and landscape through simple, precise detail.
Crossing Purgatory is a beautiful, lyrical experience, memorable for its timeless evocation of human struggle at the fringes of civilization. Schanbacher effortlessly channels history while exploring conflicts of the heart that ring just as true today.
— William Haywood Henderson, author of Augusta Locke
Schanbacher’s unflinching prose is lyrical; it lays bare the deepest of emotions of the human heart.
— Rocky Moutain News