My third novel is a pilgrimage tale about a man who sets out to finish a mural his late mother had begun years before.
I'm reading a pilgrimage tale, too, called Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead, a dreamlike story of a boy who sets out into the chaos of the American Civil War to find and bring his father, a soldier, home. I'm enjoying it very much.
There is so much to enjoy in this novel, but this morning this passage leapt out at me. Robey, the protagonist, encounters the aftermath of the largest battle of the war and, shattered by the horror of the carnage, has is convicted to help the wounded whenever he can. He finds a soldier, blind and whose leg has been blown off, firing his pistol at a scavenging boar feeding on his amputated limb. The man can feel the beast's teeth as it feeds. Robey kills the boar, vowing to use its meat to help the other wounded soldiers.
Later, "When he returned to the soldier who had endure the phantom pain, he was going to tell him that maybe he was blind because God thought he'd seen enough for one life, but when he arrived at his side he found him to be dead. On his chest was the revolver, a six-shot Remington. It was loaded and he understood that the soldier had left it for him. He also came to understand that he was finally finished with his believing in God."
My heart broke a little when I read that. Man, I love it when literature can do that.