The Death and Life of Strother Purcell

In 1876, the fabled lawman Strother Purcell disappears into a winter storm in the mountains of British Columbia, while hunting down his outlawed half-brother. Sixteen years later, the wreck of Purcell resurfaces – derelict and homeless – in a San Francisco jail cell. And a failed journalist named Barrington Weaver conceives a grand redemptive plan. He will write Purcell’s true-life story. All it requires is a final act…

What unfolds is an archetypal saga of obsession, lost love, treachery, and revenge. A deadpan revisionist Western, refracted through a Southern Gothic revenge tragedy, The Death and Life of Strother Purcell is a novel about two cursed brothers, a pair of eldritch orphans, the vexed nature of truth, and the yearnings of that treacherous sonofabitch the human heart.

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“A literary exegesis on truth disguised as a rollicking, tragic Western entertainment. Cain and Abel and the Sisters Brothers got nothing on towering Strother Purcell and his club-footed half-brother Elijah Dillashay. When lies are this well-loved they transform into truth and truth into history. On top of all that, it’s hilarious.”
--Hart Hanson, author of The Driver

“What a fantastic yarn, as they say, by turns tragic and droll, intimate and expansive, with every thread stretching taut towards an epic conclusion. The Death and Life of Strother Purcell is also, if you get past the page-turning thrill of it, a fascinating and insightful commentary on how stories are built, and on our determination to see them come to light and be given their due. As for Strother, he strides on the page – epic and tragic – a man trapped in the myths of manhood and gunslinging, a man of a bygone era, who cannot allow bygones to be just that.”
--Claire Mulligan, author of The Dark and The Reckoning of Boston Jim

“Ian Weir takes every trope in the Western’s play-book – the one-eyed avenging lawman, the feckless brother, tarts both with and without hearts, gunslingers, gimps, and gamblers – and makes of them something new and utterly wonderful.”
--C.C. Humphreys, author of Plague and Chasing the Wind

“Masterfully crafted storytelling, witty and pacy and scratchy with grit. When it comes to the ‘Canadian Western,’ Ian Weir thrills and heartbreaks in similar ways as Guy Vanderhaeghe, and if all that sounds like a good time, it is.”
--Andrew Pyper, author of The Only Child and The Demonologist