High as the Horses' Bridles (Hardcover)

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"A Washington Post" Top 50 of 2014 Fiction pick
A "Wall Street Journal" Book of the Year, selected by Phil Klay
"Electric Literature" 2014: Year of the Debut
A "Largehearted Boy" Favorite Novel of 2014
"Slaughterhouse 90210"'s Most Rapturous Book of 2014
"Vol. 1 Brooklyn" A Year of Favorites: Jason Diamond picks

Called "powerful and unflinching" by Column McCann in "The New York Times Book Review," "something of a miracle" by Ron Charles in the "Washington Post," and named a must read by "The Millions," "Time Out," "New York Magazine," and "Grantland"; Scott Cheshire's debut is a "great new American epic" (Philipp Meyer) about a father and son finding their way back to each other.

"Deeply Imagined" "The New York Times" / "Daring and Brilliant" Ron Charles, "Washington Post" / "Vivid" "Elle" / "One of the finest novels you will read this year." "Flavorwire"

It's 1980 at a crowded amphitheater in Queens, New York and a nervous Josiah Laudermilk, age 12, is about to step to the stage while thousands of believers wait to hear him, the boy preaching prodigy, pour forth. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flipped, Josiah's nerves shake away and his words come rushing out, his whole body fills to the brim with the certainty of a strange apocalyptic vision. But is it true prophecy or just a young believer's imagination running wild? Decades later when Josiah (now Josie) is grown and has long since left the church, he returns to Queens to care for his father who, day by day, is losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, memories of the past--of his childhood friend Issy, of his first love, of the mother he has yet to properly mourn--overwhelm him at every turn. When he arrives at his family's old house, he's completely unprepared for what he finds. How far back must one man journey to heal a broken bond between father and son?

In rhapsodic language steeped in the oral tradition of American evangelism, Scott Cheshire brings us under his spell. Remarkable in scale--moving from 1980 Queens, to sunny present-day California, to a tent revival in nineteenth century rural Kentucky--and shot-through with the power and danger of belief and the love that binds generations, "High as the Horses' Bridles" is a bold, heartbreaking debut from a big new American voice.

About the Author


Scott Cheshire earned his MFA from Hunter College. He is the interview editor at the Tottenville Review and teaches writing at the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop. His work has been published in Slice, AGNI, Guernica and the Picador anthology The Book of Men. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…


"Scott Chesire has made the insane choice to write with nuance and intelligence about religion. High As The Horses' Bridles refuses to dismiss or lampoon the kind of people who are usually just fodder for comedy. Because of this, his debut novel is tender and enlightening, riveting and raw. The man can write but, just as importantly, he keeps his eye on the humane just as surely as the divine."
–Victor LaValle

"The prophets of High as the Horses’ Bridles live struggling in anticipation of the Apocalypse they think they want and struggling in denial of the one they already have. In a three-book bible, written to profound and devastating purpose, Scott Cheshire counts the cost in love of inviting the end of the world." 
–Chris Adrian

"From its opening tour de force to its equally extraordinary conclusion, Scott Cheshire’s debut is searing and fierce. His protagonist, Josiah Laudermilk, provides a rare bridge from our familiar everyday to the strange, rich territory of Evangelical Christianity -- and back again. Josiah’s – and Cheshire’s – brilliant evocations make the whole world new. This novel is truly memorable."
–Claire Messud

"High As the Horses’ Bridles is a great new American epic, one that spans two hundred years, and takes us cross-country from the streets of New York City, to the beaches of Southern California, to the bluegrass hills of Old Kentucky. Cheshire tackles the biggest questions of all, God, love, and death, and he does it with such style and raw psychological insight. Nothing less than Dostoyevskian."
–Philipp Meyer

"An unflinching exploration of American apocalyptic yearning. So many things at once, High as the Horses' Bridles is the heartbreaking story of a family, of a marriage, of the undying affection between a father and his son, and the redemptive power of love. It also happens to be a deep look at one of the more unsettling aspects of our national character--religion as desire. This is a rare and beautiful debut that will have readers thinking of Aleksandar Hemon, of E.L Doctorow, of Don DeLillo."
–Colum McCann

"In High as the Horses' Bridles, Scott Cheshire explores with poignancy the lasting generational impact of both faith and fanaticism."  
–Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

"High as Horses' Bridles is a book of revelation, in every sense suffused with biblical allusion It reveals the hidden histories that shape our lives."
–Peter Manseau

Product Details
ISBN: 9780805098211
ISBN-10: 0805098216
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Pages: 304
Language: English