Epitaph (Mary Doria Russell, 2015)

epitaph

Why did you choose this book?

It was the next fiction book discussion pick at our library!

What’s it about?

It is the story of Wyatt Earp and the events that led up to the gunfight at the OK Corral.  Other major players in the novel include Virgil and Morgan Earp, Doc Holliday, Johnny Behan, and Josie Marcus.

Categories

Western, historical fiction

Other recommended reads?

I’m not sure there are too many other modern Westerns of this sort.  Russell has also written a book about Holliday, simply called Doc.

Review

This was a solid and engrossing historical fiction novel.  I didn’t know much about the OK Corral, so this was interesting on many levels.  It was a long novel at nearly 600 pages, and it took me a very long time to read because it was very very dense.  In fact, it was so incredibly well-researched that it almost read like narrative nonfiction.  I appreciated that level of research, but wish the author had included a note describing which sections were fictional and which were not.  I also think the novel would have been better had it ended with Earp’s vendetta ride, but several of the book group members liked the fact that it ended with Josie’s death decades later.  My favorite character was Doc Holliday – he was much more complex than many books and movies make us believe.

Up next?

Works Well with Others by Ross McCammon

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