Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys
CBC BOOKS WORKS OF CANADIAN FICTION TO READ IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2023
‘Cat Person’ meets Station Eleven in this apocalyptic depiction of toxic masculinity.
An unnamed man is spending the evening with his ex-girlfriend. She’s obsessed with the 1956 John Wayne classic The Searchers, and she recounts the story as a way for them to talk about their histories, their families, maybe even their relationship. But as he gets more drunk and belligerent, she gets more and more uncomfortable with him being in her home.
And then, two days later, a mysterious catastrophic event befalls Toronto, and our protagonist must trek across the city to find Melanie. His quest spirals into increasing violence, bloodshed, and hallucinations as he moves west through the confusion and chaos of the city.
Using the tropes of both the Western and the disaster movie, Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys looks at the violence of our contemporary masculinity, and its deep roots in shaping our culture. A suspenseful and thought-provoking evocation of our current moment.
"Ask the right questions and a conversation about the movies becomes a conversation about your life, family, past, and everything you value: Aaron Tucker’s novel, which starts chatty before turning deeply, unexpectedly inward, grasps the ceaseless, sometimes terrible relevance of violence and troubling art." – Naben Ruthnum, author of A Hero of Our Time
"In Soldiers, Hunters, Not Cowboys, Aaron Tucker refuses the easy projections of masculinity from film history. Instead he gallops into the screen to sift out how drama collaborates with the bloodiest of truths. That this novel shifts from dialogical treatise into a thriller proves that Tucker is well on his way to stealing the weird fiction mantle away from Don DeLillo." – Emily Schultz, author of The Blondes and Little Threats
"Sad, smart, innocent and wise. A relentless retelling of a movie and a life, full of hope, if there is any." – John Haskell, author of The Complete Ballet: A Fictional Essay in Five Acts