Funerals for Horses
Funerals for Horses was my very first published novel. It was released in 1997 from Russian Hill Press. It's back in "print" in ebook format as of October 2012. There's a reason I brought these backlist titles out in ebook only: for those who prefer paper books, there are lots of hardcovers still to be had. Both Amazon and Barnes Noble online have out-of-print books listed, both new and used, and Abebooks.com is a good source as well.
In my own words:
Ella Ginsberg’s brother Simon seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. His clothing, shoes and watch were found abandoned near a freight line track in Central California. His jockey shorts and wallet were never found. The police have no clue, and Simon’s wife Sarah had no warning that any trouble was brewing.
Ella, the member of the family with the most severe mental health issues, takes off on foot across much of California and Arizona, thinking she can find Simon using nothing but her knowledge of the way he might think. Her search leads her to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, where she is helped and befriended by three Native Americans and an aged paint horse named Yozzie.
Chapters of her travels in the present are interspersed with chapters of her past with Simon, who raised her, and who is still the most important person in her shaky world. Only maybe it’s not as unstable as it looks from the outside. Maybe inside Ella a core of unexpected strength is emerging. Maybe Ella is even stronger than the brother who held their lives together for so long.
The reviewers were very kind to Funerals:
Publishers Weekly said, "Equine funerals help frame this brutally lyrical first novel, a tale of sibling loyalty, madness, pain and redemption. In this restrained but compelling narrative, Hyde movingly conveys the toll of years of emotional damage."
Library Journal said, "Hyde, a noted short story writer, successfully offers a rich blend of metaphors and genuine characters that will touch the hearts of readers. Highly recommended for all collections."
The San Francisco Chronicle said, "Every true work of art creates a world subject to its own laws. San Luis Obispowriter Catherine Ryan Hyde's enchanting first novel, "Funerals for Horses," adroitly illustrates that point. ...a compelling evocation of a world in which hidden purposes abound and all creatures of goodwill are linked by subterranean currents of understanding and sympathy. [A] moving novel of mourning, celebration and salvation."
Small Press Magazine said, "In her brilliantly wrought, finely plotted first novel, Hyde sends Ella into the Sonoran desert... Every scene is sketched with beautiful brevity, to keep the yarn spinning and to detail only that which hones the tale and enthralls the reader. Every vista takes your breath away, but a satisfying sense of clarity and order prevails even through the worst of the craziness."