Broken Field: A Novel (Paperback)

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Told from the perspective of a high school girl and a football coach, Broken Field reveals the tensions that tear at the fabric of a small town when a high school hazing incident escalates and threatens a championship season.

Set on the high prairies of Montana, in small towns scattered across vast landscapes, the distances in Broken Field are both insurmountable and deeply internalized. Life is dusty and hard, and men are judged by their labor. Women have to be tougher yet. That’s what sixteen-year-old Josie Frehse learns as she struggles to meet the expectations of her community while fumbling with her own desires. Tom Warner coaches the Dumont Wolfpack, an eight-man football team, typical for such small towns. Warner is stumbling through life, numbed by the death of his own young son and the dissolution of his marriage. But he’s jolted into taking sides when his star players are accused of a hazing incident that happened right under his nose.

The scandal divides and ignites the town and in Broken Field, Jeff Hull brilliantly gives breadth and depth to both sides of this fractured community, where the roots of bullying reach deep, secrets are buried, and, in a school obsessed with winning, everyone loses.

About the Author

Jeff Hull is the author of the novel Pale Morning Done and the essay collection Streams of Consciousness. Broken Field is his second novel. It was named a Finalist for the WWA 2019 Award for Best Western Contemporary Novel. Hull's articles have appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Atlantic, Fortune, FastCompany, Outside, Men’s Journal and many other national magazines. He has worked as a fishing guide in Montana and Tahiti and as a copywriter at major advertising agencies in New York and San Francisco. He lives in Montana and New York City.

Praise For…


"Jeff Hull's Broken Field is a welcome corrective to news that a Trump or Kardashian has fetched up near the resorts of Western Montana. Set in what is most of the state with its desolation, unexpected beauty and hopefulness, Broken Field reminds us how volatile rural American life can be. In such places people still have, in Wallace Stegner's phrase, "the dignity of rarity" yet contain easily ignited differences. In the rural West, almost nothing, personal or physical, is easy."--Thomas McGuane

"Broken Fieldis a tragic story of the first order, tethered to the broken hearts that people its pages. A nurturing coach trying to save young men from themselves. A teenage girl trying to protect her own heart. And a town all-too willing to turn a blind eye to the sins of their favorite sons. Jeff Hull has pulled off a feat of imaginative compassion, a story that will move you with its grace, heedless desire, and hardscrabble dignity." —Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek

"In this marvelous novel that unfolds at the convergence of adolescence and adulthood, Jeff Hull guides us into a world of endless horizon lines, aching blue sky, and relentless wind, leading us into the turbulent emotional interiors of its inhabitants in a moment of crisis. Beautifully written and highly evocative, Broken Field confronts timely issues in a vast and timeless landscape."—Peter Stark, author of Young Washington

"Jeff Hull has delivered a sad, honest, fantastic tale of small town life. . . . I hope this novel wins wide recognition. It deserves it." Missoulian

"A sharp-eyed, often touching portrait of a fractured community and a harshly beautiful landscape."—Kirkus Reviews

"Hull excels in his depiction of both individuals and small-town dynamics, treating adult and teen concerns with the same thoughtfulness and respect. More than an issue book, more than a sports novel (though the scenes of eight-man football are exhilarating), Broken Field offers quietly intense character studies and a vivid sense of place."—Booklist

"Rural America, quite vividly, plays out its enthusiasms—sports and love affairs—in this dead-on-the-money drama. Jeff Hull has given us a winner."—William Kittredge, author of Hole in the Sky

"Broken Field gives us small-town life on the northern plains, complete with football, sex, abuse, racism, and murder. It is complex and deep and a real page-turner!" —Annick Smith, author of Crossing the Plains with Bruno
Product Details
ISBN: 9781950691500
ISBN-10: 1950691500
Publisher: Arcade
Publication Date: August 25th, 2020
Pages: 432