I don't remember why I bought this book, but I expect it was a strong positive review that appeared in something I read. It could have been because it takes place in Wyoming and there is a lot in the novel about horses and ranching. I also like the simplicity of the title, even the author's name. Just Joe Henry.
The front cover has a blurb from Larry McMurtry calling it "a wonderful book". I won't disagree with that, but I might have used a different adjective. The cover also says fiction, not novel, and I think fiction is a clearer description.
As I read the short book (142 pages), I had the feeling that I was reading a memoir, not a novel. If you like plot-driven novels, this might not be the one for you. This book is driven by characters, words and a sense of place. Weather, scenery and man's struggle with nature are all major characters in this work.
There are a lot of long sentences here (think a ¾ page-long paragraph without a period). Though this seems to be the norm for literary fiction, I find shorter sentences easier to follow. Joe Henry, however, has a gift for putting the right words in the right place and pulling his readers into the minds of his characters and putting us right there in a Wyoming winter as a couple raises three sons.
I had already determined that I was going to use lyrical if I wrote a review of this book before I read the author's bio. Joe Henry is a renowned lyricist whose words have been performed by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, and Rascal Flatts. He is also a poet who dedicates this book to Roscoe Lee Browne, renowned actor and former track star, and Anthony Zerbe. Both actors have performed Joe's poetry.
Joe is a former professional athlete with an excellent education, but attributes much of his learning to his years as a laborer and rancher. That learning is on display in this book. It's gritty and very believable. And there's a nice love story.
Home Light Burning, A Novel Based on Actual Facts and Events