Published by Henry Holt and Company on 7/8/2014
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At the age of twelve, Josiah Laudermilk testifies in front of his massive congregation in Queens, New York with the untempered belief that the apocalypse will come in the year 2000. Years later, with the apocalypse prediction behind him, recently divorced Josiah leaves his home in California to care for his father who has started to unravel after his mother’s death.
High as the Horses’ Bridles circles around faith, both its presence and absence, particularly in the face of illness and death. Despite the delicate subject, Cheshire writes with such respect that his commentary can be read, examined and appreciated from nearly any viewpoint. But that’s not to say he handles anything with kid gloves, rather he chooses to write with a focus on depth and reality over searing critique.
“What I wanted to say was, Dad, you got it all wrong. Death is not a home. Cancer is not a reward. When it comes knocking on your door, you should run. And if you don’t run because for some reason you don’t know better, you should be taken up and protected.”
At the end of the novel, Cheshire jumps to nineteenth century Kentucky in a brave move that will likely throw off some readers, but serves as a fascinating bookend to the novel’s fiery opening. For those interested in exploring the risks of faith through story, High as the Horses’ Bridles is a book that readers will want to dig into, turn over and discuss at length.