Effigy

Effigy Review

A stunning novel of loss, memory, despair and deliverance by one of Canada’s best young fiction writers, set on a Mormon ranch in nineteenth-century Utah.

Dorrie, a shock-pale child with a mass of untameable black hair, cannot recall anything of her life before she recovered from an illness at seven. A solitary child, she spends her spare time learning the art of taxidermy, completely fascinated by the act of bringing new and eternal life to the bodies of the dead. At fourteen, her parents marry her off to Erastus Hammer, a polygamous horse breeder and renowned hunter, who does not want to bed her. The role he has in mind for his fourth and youngest wife is creator of trophies of his most impressive kills, an urgent desire in him as he is slowly going blind. Happy to be given this work, Dorrie secludes herself in her workshop, away from Mother Hammer’s watchful eyes and the rivalry between the elder wives.

But as the novel opens, Hammer has brought Dorrie his latest kills, a family of wolves, and for the first time in her short life she struggles with her craft, dreaming each night of crows and strange scenes of violence. The new hand, Bendy Drown, is the only one to see her dilemma and to offer her help, a dangerous game in a Mormon household. Outside, a lone wolf prowls the grounds looking for his lost pack, and his nighttime searching will unearth the tensions and secrets of this complicated and conflicted family.

Inspired by the real events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857, Alissa York blends fact with fiction in a haunting story of a family separated by secrets and united by faith.

Title:Effigy
Edition Language:English

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    Effigy Reviews

  • Shane

    I started this book at the 5 star level and then wound my way down to 2 stars, ending at 3 because the ending somewhat rescued the book for me. The prose is indirect, poetic and oblique and you have t...

  • Marie

    Pulled me right in, entranced me, kept me hooked until the last page. Sorry to close it. Innovative structure and beautiful visuals. A reminder of not only how history is woven togther by the differin...

  • Mike

    This book was like a wine with too much happening on the palate. Overwhelming. York has tried to be symbolic, deep, and meaningful. What she's forgotten is to be a story-teller. Her profusion of chara...

  • Cathy Buchanan

    Inspired by the real events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Effigy is set on a Mormon ranch in 19th C Utah. Masterfully told from the points of view of the wives (yes, wives!) of a polygamous house ...

  • Sharon

    I read this a few years ago and remember it as a dark and complex book, full of strange, and in some cases, terrible, people, lurking dreams, evil, but nevertheless, infused with a deep humanity. Set ...

  • Bryn Greenwood

    This was an intensely pleasurable read, full of great characterizations and subtle story-telling. Historically, the tone is spot-on 19th century Utah, but under that is a layer of the fantastical that...

  • April

    I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to put down but took awhile to read. The story skips around and at times was a little hard to follow but it all came together nicely in the end. I enjoyed the h...

  • Kate McDougall Sackler

    I really liked this complex family drama about real events in Mormon history. Polygamy, a circus contortionist, silkworms, and everything you ever want to know about taxidermy are the highlights of th...

  • Brittany

    How I Came To Read This Book: I believe I received a free copy of it by a random draw after filling out a survey...years ago. The Plot: The present day of the story takes place in 1867, on a Mormon ra...

  • liz

    I haven't exactly been crazy about a couple of books I've recently read, so you can imagine how stoked I was when I picked this up at the library. "It's about Mormons, on the frontier, and the last wi...