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"Virginia Pye’s River of Dust is a remarkable novel
in the ways that delight me the most: It has a compelling narrative
voice, a dynamic story and a deep resonance into the universal human
condition, all of which is inextricably bound together. This is a major work by a splendid writer.” --Robert Olen Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
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On the windswept plains of northwestern China not long after the Boxer Rebellion, Mongol bandits swoop down upon an American missionary couple and kidnap their small child. As the Reverend sets out in search of the boy, he quickly loses himself in the rugged, corrupt, drought-stricken countryside populated by opium dens, sly nomadic warlords and traveling circuses. Grace, his young wife, pregnant with their second child, takes to her sick bed in the mission compound, where visions of her stolen child and lost husband begin to beckon to her from across the plains.
Inspired in part by the journals of her grandfather, who was himself an early missionary in China, Pye delivers a hypnotic, emotionally powerful, spiritually resonant debut that is at once both lyrical and dynamic.
VIRGINIA PYE received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence. Her award-winning short fiction has appeared in The North American Review, The Baltimore, Review, Failbetter, and Tampa Review. River of Dust is her first novel.