Great Western novella
I bought this book on a recommendation from a friend and enjoyed it, mainly because it’s brief, it’s concise, it’s thrilling and believable and doesn’t talk down to the reader; everything that fiction should be.
Missouri Green is a Western, revolving around the eponymous protagonist, a New Orleans prostitute who tires of her job and decides to make the perilous journey west to California. To help her survive the journey and mine for gold, she buys herself a slave named Jim, a highly-skilled outdoorsman. I can’t help but see this as a blatant reference to Huckleberry Finn, not only because Missouri constantly calls him “N***** Jim,” but because a big part of the plot concerns her learning to respect Jim and view him as a smart, loyal human being.
Jim himself is depicted with more complexity and depth than you typically get from characters like him. He begins the novel openly resentful of Missouri and even comes close to murdering her a couple of times. None of this feels forced, though, thanks to Fonvielle’s crisp, unpretentious style and economical use of words (the book can be read in less than an hour).
I subtracted one star from the book because of the ending, where the book starts to come apart, but otherwise, Missouri Green is worth a look even if you aren’t normally into this kind of genre fiction.
You can buy the book here for only $1.99 — Missouri Green. Kindle owners who subscribe to Amazon Prime can borrow it for free.