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Roewan Crowe's compelling and haunting literary debut, Quivering Land, is a rather queer Western, engaging with poetics and politics to reckon with the legacies of violence and colonization in the West.
Written in a sparse style, this lonely, sometimes brutal book invites the reader on a powerful journey with Clem, Violet, and a dead girl in a red dress. Clem, a lone cowboy, caught in the inevitable violence of the Western, compulsively rides through ghost towns and Monument Valley. Violet is an artist who pulls dead bodies, guns, and memory into her studio, immersing herself in a creative process, seeking to understand the relationships among aggression, vulnerability and the imagination. Disrupting the story are the ghostly visitations of a dead child who travels the western landscape unsettling romanticized, filmic images of Monument Valley.
Interspersed in the text are fragile, beautiful images painstakingly cut from paper, created by artist Paul Robles. This experimental long poem, a gritty feminist meditation on trauma, violence and the possibilities of art, is as powerful as a Smith and Wesson Schofield rifle.