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review– HARVESTING BALLADS, Publisher’s Weekly

Farmers, ranchers and wanderers sunk their lives into the Great Plains, mixing one set of ideals with the local Indians’ traditions. Out of this struggle between land and spirit Kimball has crafted one of the year’s most original novels. The story turns loosely around a young man named Sorry, who, between spells of working his uncle Marcus’s Oklahoma chicken and wheat farm, traverses the heartland of the continent in search of his identity, or at least a past. Orphaned son of a rodeo rider/poet and a wind-toughened woman named Blanchefleur, Sorry tries to escape the “bad blood” he finds within the white and the Indian communities, antagonisms that naturally arise in so harsh a land. In recruiting a wife for his uncle, he finds a lover for himself- a reason, he thinks, to sink roots. In snooker halls, with the Cherokee, at college, baling under a blistering sun, Sorry begins to write his own verse in the ballad of the Plains.