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Adams breathed through the thick weave of his pulse. Hobbs.
Again. His return likely meant trouble. Care and trouble.
The uneasy friendship between Fremont Adams and C. D. Hobbs worked best when both men had a job to do, when they could fall into the rhythm of hard labor. Neglected by his mother at an early age, Hobbs found his way into the Adams family. But everyone could tell he was always a bit off. Fremont resigned himself
to watching out for Hobbs, who had the innocence and optimism that can come only from ignorance. After a grueling tour of duty in Korea, however, Adams and Hobbs return to the ranch marked in dangerous ways.
In four parts—alternating between the Wyoming ranch and Korea—Alyson Hagy reveals the intricacies of a profound friendship between two very different men. Snow, Ashes is a suspenseful, engaging exploration of survival and failure and of how the most vulnerable among us can have a wisdom beyond measure.
Childhood friends return from the Korean War differently damaged in Hagy's moving and stark fifth work of fiction (Keeneland; Graveyard of the Atlantic). John Fremont Adams, 64, lives on the 36,000-acre sheep ranch in Baggs, Wyo., where he grew up, though he retired his hook and sheep dogs four years ago and has since been living a marginally pointless bachelor existence. But Adams finds purpose when childhood friend C.D. Hobbs, who served with Adams in Korea and has wandered into and out of Adams's life ever since, shows up at the ranch one night in 1995. Both men barely survived combat at the Chosin Reservoir: Adams lost his toes to frostbite, and C.D., who had been weird before enlisting, emerged very weird and badly wounded. Adams, C.D.'s protector since childhood, makes a desperate and ill-advised attempt to restart the sheep business, sparking battles with Adams's retired lawyer brother, Buren, and impetuous younger sister, Charlotte. Hagy crafts first-rate prose unsparingly raw and visceral with flashes of high lyricism that carries the reader from the napalmed mountains of Korea to the vast pastures of the west. The inevitable but surprising conclusion will yank tears from hard hearts.