Secrets Among the Wild Horses of Sable Island
Seeking adventure, Argentine dandy Balboa Brontine charms his way onto an expedition to film a remote Canadian island famed for wild horses and shipwrecks. He persuades Paul the filmmaker to let New Orleans femme fatale Geraldine join their yacht. At sea the two men vie for her affections, Balboa bold and brazen, Paul quietly nursing his attraction. She focuses on extracting the truth from Balboa - Why is he involved? He claims he was raised by horses when his father shipwrecked and wants to breed the tough horses with his Argentinean mounts. But in deliriums he tells of a secret the island hides. When the entangled trio shipwrecks, Balboa's hoax and secrets surface on the island's desolate beaches. They struggle to survive, surrounded by wild horses and the raw truth of Sable Island, figuratively a literary fiction of adventure, mystery, suspense, myth, romance and desire.
As in earlier novels, described by critics as "marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre," Peter Kelton's characters emerge from their roles in a parade of lust, sauntering through and sometimes tripping over basic truths about human nature. As in all his novels the author remains steady in his belief that well-written literary fiction doesn't have to be high-brow; it has to embrace ideas about destiny in a storyline that holds the readers' attention. During his classic presentation at the 200th anniversary writers' conference of North American Review, the nation's oldest literary magazine, he poked fun at his own novels for their obscurity, implying clarity in the digital age equals salvation. Then he toyed with the digital age itself:
Some nut will find a way to blow up the electric grid. All these electronic gadgets that rely on electricity will go dark. The batteries will run down. We're talking Cormac McCarthy darkness, black on black. . . except for one distant flicker of light. It's on a beach probably Australia. Survivors will make their way through the dark and find the light from a single candle. Next to the candle will be a lad with a note book scribbling away with the last pencil on earth. He's writing about what happened. He hopes someone will read what he writes. That's what writers do. They hope.
In "The Yesterlings," Kelton's characters are indeed marvelously extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre. They are just as real as Studs Terkel's real folks in "The Great War." Instead of a war to bind them together, they are bound together by a quest to preserve a natural environment for wild birds and wild horses. After a small standing ovation for his literary presentation, a local reporter in Cedar Falls, Iowa asked Kelton what his "style" was. "Wedged somewhere between the beautiful language of John Hawkes and the dense absurdity of Thomas Pynchon."
"The Yesterlings" is a companion to a highly readable six-novel bookshelf that also includes "Splat!" "A Light in Polanco," "The Junk Yard Solution" "The Trevor Truculence," and "Reminds Me of My Inn Innocence," written in a span of 50 years after Lewis H. Lapham, editor of Harper's, wrote to the author's agent, "I love the way Kelton writes." Psychologist B. G. Stice wrote in a review of Kelton's first novel, in 2006. "The author is a master of plot twists. His writing is lyrical and stunning in its simplicity. He draws characters with a thin pencil and leaves the rest to your imagination. And he's not above pulling your leg." His style has been called "surrealistic, erudite and literary."
Peter Kelton writes fiction when he's between news jobs and has written for some of the world's largest news organizations. Most of his work has been in New York. He has critiqued more than 450 novels in a national column and has written six novels of his own in a unique erudite literary fiction style of adventure, mystery, suspense and satire. He grew up in Texas, served overseas in the US Army and returned to Europe as a foreign correspondent. He currently divides his time between his homes in East St. Louis, IL and Querétaro, Mexico. He has ghost written for more than 100 clients and is a top-rated writer for the Upwork free-lance agency.