Reads like a conflation of the Inferno, the Iliad and Moby Dick…
-John Banville, The independent
Evokes the styles of both Sam Peckinpah and Hieronymus Bosch…
She brings his meals, she carries out his slops.
She looked at him some more, then she called toward the back of the house.
She stopped at the gate and watched him go.
She looked harried and she smiled at them and she had smuggled them sweets under her shawl and there were pieces of meat in the bottom of the bowls that had come from her own table.
She’s a stout looker, said one.
She began to drag through the sand.
She swept up her skirt and composed herself and he took from his shirt a kerchief and with it bound her eyes.
She raised her chin slightly and she began a sing song chant.
She looked like a blindfold mannequin raised awake by a string.
She moved her shoulders.
She began to chant.
She raised her jaw, gibbering at the night.
She seemed to catch some new drift in her divinings.
She stared at the ground nor did she look up even when the horses stood all about her.
She was in a meat camp about eight mile upriver, said Webster.
She caint walk.
She had raised her eyes to the level of his knees.
She began to cry and after a while she made him take her to the place and she took wild primrose which grew in plenty thereabout and she put it on the stones and she came there many times until she was old.
She stared at the coins without moving until he shooed her away and she went off down the hallway holding coins cupped in her hands like a bird.
She disappeared up the stairwell calling out and soon there were a number of women busy about the place.
She looked toward the house.
She won’t bring you nothin without I tell her to.
She was a huge woman with a great red face and she read him riot.
She turned to the other women.
She reached in and took him by the hand.
She handed him down, him clinging to her neck.
She was smeared with feces but seemed not to notice.
She looked back at those on the riverbank.
She held him up, she crooned to him.
She was sobbing and praying for mercy to Glenton and to God impartially.
She watched him ride past, covering her breasts with her hands.
She wore a rawhide collar about her neck and she was chained to a post and there was a clay bowl of blackened meatscrapes beside her.
She was very old and her face was gray and leathery and sand had collected in the folds of her clothing.
She did not look up.
She moved slightly, her whole body, light and rigid.
She weighed nothing.
She was just a dried shell and she had been dead in that place for years.
She ran forward and knelt and gathered the great shaggy head up in her arms and began to rock back and forth sobbing.
She looked up at him.
She directed him to a table where a woman was selling chits and stuffing the money with a piece of shingle through a narrow slit into an iron strongbox.
She led him through a door where an old Mexican woman was handing out towels and candles and they ascended like refugees of some sordid disaster the darkened plankboard stairwell to the upper rooms.
She turned and looked at him.
She had come to the door.
She stood in the hallway holding the candle and brushing her hair back with one hand and she watched him descend into the dark of the stairwell and then she pulled the door shut behind her.
She wore nothing but a pair of men’s drawers and some of her sisters were likewise clad in what appeared to be trophies – hats or pantaloons or blue twill cavalry jackets.