Five Shades of Shadow

Five Shades of Shadow

Five Shades of Shadow

Five Shades of Shadow

Synopsis

When work took Tracy Daugherty from his family's roots in Oklahoma to the unfamiliar landscape of Oregon, his move mirrored the western migrations of so many earlier Oklahomans devastated and displaced during the Dust Bowl years. Deeply unsettled by the change in his surroundings and shaken by the recent Oklahoma City bombing, Daugherty took the opportunity provided by his own journey to explore the shattering and rebuilding of community in the America of today and yesterday. Speaking with survivors of the Murrah building bombing, revisiting his roots, and retracing the paths of exile and migration in the American West, Daugherty creates a diverse and heartfelt portrait of America in an uncertain time--its people, its politics, its music, and its poetry--a sobering but ultimately hopeful view of the national community. At heart an exploration, from an intimate vantage point, of the consequences of violence in contemporary America, Five Shades of Shadow will hold special resonance for readers struggling to come to terms with trauma and loss.

Excerpt

Neon horses appeared one night in the misty fields of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where I’ve lived now for fifteen years. Electric yellow haunches, tails, manes; blue eyes, stalky ears. Fetlocks and legs glimmered, thin as lipstick in the dark, drizzly air. Through them, in the moonlight, you could see the mist, the foothills of the Coast Range Mountains to the west, fresh mint growing, black, in the night’s black soil. Driving down the highway, you weren’t sure if you’d really glimpsed these figures grazing near rotting barns, the way you weren’t sure if you’d seen a rabbit bound across the road just ahead of your headlights’ dizzy swing. As the poet Dorianne Laux wrote of them, each horse stood calm, “bright hooves sunk in black nightgrass / head dipped like a spoon to a pool of earth / delicate spine … arched to the stars.”

An Oregon artist, Martin Anderson, had sculpted the horses, and the state had decided to display them, for a month or so, along Interstate 5, which runs north/south through the valley . . .

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