Books & Novels by Ute Carson

Colt Tailing
by Ute Carson
Buy it from Amazon. Also available from Publish America in hardcover, softcover, and ebook formats. Or contact Ute directly for a special reduced price!

You make a skittish colt follow, or tail, a calm one, to get him to cross a strange river. At 55, Clara, a horsewoman, wife and mother, is menopausal - crossing from middle age into old age. She finds her body, her former trusted and reliable ally, failing her, suddenly and unpredictably. As the confidence and sense of self she had built up over many years are shaken, she is drawn back into the intense feelings of vulnerability first experienced during her fatherless youth in war-torn Germany. To make her crossing, she must tail her grandmother and others from her past in an attempt to disentangle herself from early hurtful connections that still complicate her life.

Praise for Colt Tailing

"Its greatest strength lies in the completeness of the heroine."
- The Spieler Agency, Manhattan

"I am stunned by the musical beauty of the prose."
- Faith Lagay, author of Lyrics from the Suburbs

"The novel is compelling... an account of a life that presents relationships, events, feelings..."
- Michael Kandel, The Modern Language Association


2003 Finalist for the prestigious Peter Taylor Book Award


"Carson writes with verve and energy and with insights derived from her own interesting life. Her use of active voice verbs propels the action and provides pace and excitement to the narrative..."

Melvyn H. Schreiber
"By the Book" Galveston County Daily News October 3, 2004

TallGrass Review
by Kathy McElIigott

Ute Carson crafts her story like a master weaver, gently interspersing the threads as they meander from a fragmented childhood in WWII Germany, to the ripeness of womanhood in sunny Texas. Woven into the cloth is the story of Clara; an angular adolescent, a young wife finding her voice in America, then a mature woman confronting the inevitable process of aging, in this tapestry rich with language and sensual images.

Clara recalls her mother's struggle to maintain Christmas traditions in the family's castle while her husband is away fighting for the homeland. The sacred Christmas tree looms above little Clara, laden with glowing candles. She receives a handmade rabbit on Christmas morning, a rabbit that will later be used to hide valuables when Clara, her mother and her beloved grandmother Omi Maria are forced to flee the Russians.

The theme of colt tailing, where an inexperienced colt follows behind a mature animal, permeates the story, as Clara learns from those who went before; the father she never knew, the mistakes of her mother, and the strength of her Omi Maria.

Colt Tailing, a satisfying, thoughtful read, will find fans with those who have found their own way in the world, and those who are still searching.

Publish America Reviews

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
Austin, Texas (4/18/2005)

"Colt Tailing" is an engaging and intricate novel, beautifully written. The author's compelling attention to details is extraordinary. The book should not be skimmed.

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
California (9/18/2004)

WOWIE --- what a writer you are! Just finished C.T. Enjoyed it very much even the ahem naughty --:) parts. Love, Rena

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
Texas (8/20/2004)

Here is her description of the birth of a foal:"... a gush of fluid burst the amniotic sac, the newborn's nose and front legs forging the way. The foal sucked in gasps of air with great slurping sounds. Within minutes, it struggled to stand. Its legs were tangled in the tough remains of the collapsed sac. Pedro gently pulled the rubbery scraps from around the legs and on the next try it was up, wobbly but on all fours. All the while Pegasus licked its damp coat. The foal's mane was matted like feathers glued together. The sun blinked through the cracks of the stall and as the light struck the mane, the strands sparkled like black gold." The writing is frankly sensuous, sometimes steamy, and always compelling and provocative...

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
Chicago (8/5/2004)

I am stunned by the musical beauty of the prose. I must say that first because I cannot think about anything else until I get that off my mind... As I flip through the manuscript one last time before packaging it for the post, I have to mention the beauty and power of the prose again. No matter what page I open to: "I took care of my mother from the start. I relieved the pressure from her full breasts, and when she turned away to cry, I cooed her back into my orbit." Every passage is that good.

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
New York (8/5/2004)

Your novel is compelling--as a truth narrative: an account of a life that presents relationships, events, feelings not to put them into any plotted story but to examine, value, and celebrate them because they are real. This is the poet's way: everything that is, is precious and can teach us (a not always verbalized) wisdom.

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
New York (8/5/2004)

There are many things I like about the novel - but I think its greatest strength lies in the completeness of the heroine. Clara's memories reveal that she has always been both the skittish colt and the calm one. She is a complex woman who embraces both pain and ecstasy despite powerful fears. In a culture in which women are constantly being alienated from their own bodies, I'm convinced that many of them will take particular pleasure in reading a novel that confirms the essential importance of her own body to a woman's sense of self and positive, active experience of the world.

Other Online Reviews

"Although this book is described as a story about one woman's struggles with growing older and coming to terms with menopause, it's actually much, much more than that. This is a story about a woman trying to untangle the complicated threads that tie family and friends together in an effort to find her own place in life. The author seems effortless in putting to words the things that most of us acknowledge in our relationships, but never speak of. The book reads like a wonderful travelogue, jumping between past memories and present day. The protagonist, Clara, is not flawless by any means, but much loved and respected by this reader by the end. I wholeheartedly recommend this book."
- Angela, Highland, CA

Colt Tailing ***** (out of 5)
Los Angeles, California, USA (8/5/2004)

Upon my first reading, I was swept along, smiling, crying, pondering and enjoying the flow of the book, the narrative of a horsewoman dealing with getting older. Then I read Colt Tailing again and soaked up the images laid out in a manner unique to the author whose first language of German influences her sense of what English prose can do, and whose breadth of knowledge from her worldly experiences of people and places comes through as an authoritative compassionate voice of a heroine. It is a book which frees the reader to sensitively consider the themes of womanhood such as motherhood and marriage, but also the realities of birth, visits to the gynecologist, menopause. This is true for a reader of any age; I am 27. Colt Tailing also considers unique relationships to outsiders, bonds with animals, and a foundation in memories to which everyone can relate. I want to read it yet again.

Buy it now!

In Transit
by Ute Carson
Available from Publish America in hardcover, softcover, and ebook formats. Or contact Ute directly for a special reduced price!

At 25, Bryan McMurphy, a shy, good-looking young man, boards a bus in his hometown in Texas to join a band in Canada. On the way, out of cash and stranded in Montana, he meets childless, middle-aged Blanca, who gives him shelter. Sharply intelligent but deeply wounded, Bryan responds to Blanca's attentiveness. She feels compelled to discover the undercurrent of his troubled escapades and risks being drawn into his self-destructive world. In Transit is a story of the heartbreaking consequences of damaged childhood trust and a touching attempt by two very different people to mend a broken bond.

Praise for In Transit

"As I closed your book... I indeed had goosebumps up and down my arms. Your descriptions are so beautiful, poetic... I kept thinking of the borderline personalities, the transvestites, transsexuals, transgender and the other generally 'messed up' by their genes, their environment, their traumas that I used to talk with... You have written, I think, a most penetrating story... the ending was so skillfully and satisfactory done from my viewpoint. I am in awe of your creation."
- Deborah, Psychiatrist, Retired

Read an excerpt from In Transit

The internet, a secret friend, validated my compulsion and never got impatient or frustrated. I was disgusted with myself but I was ensnared by my new distraction. As if my good fortune had never happened, I once again built my identity on my desire. When I finally got up to eat or drink something, the seat of my pants stuck to my butt.

Maybe I would have slipped from my pleasant stupor into a saving sleep if Blanca hadn't come in. I didn't hear her knock, though there was a large brass knocker at the door of my new apartment.

I felt a hand on my shoulder as on the day when I had fallen asleep in the library. I twitched under her touch like a skewered fly.

"Why didn't you answer your phone? We worried about you," Blanca said. How long had she been standing behind me? Had she watched? Her words broke through my numbness.

"I thought you knew the female anatomy by now."

Then Blanca bent forward, her lips pinched together as if she had eaten something bitter. She moved her hand from my shoulder onto her right hip and dismissed the screen with her eyes. As if I had uncovered the secret to a magician's disappearing act, my arousal went poof.

"Sometimes I don't understand you," she hissed, no longer restrained.

"Men are visual," I said in my defense. "If I had a young girl I would take care of her. I promise."

"Exploiting these girls." Her voice faltered.

I tried to explain.

"They were exploited before I saw them on the screen."

"Does that make it right? Does it? Does it?" Her words were claws. They ripped.

Then she stood there staring at me wildly. Finally she said,

"Let's take a walk."

Blanca must have thought me crazy. Though she seemed to want to put up with me, I saw her disapproval. A mixture of worry and fury flashed in her eyes.

As if to further protest against my depravity, Blanca's skirt swished furiously against her legs as she marched out of the apartment, down the steps, along the corridor, out the front door, holding its heavy sides long enough so it wouldn't slam on me, never breaking her big strides on the sidewalk in the direction of the park at the end of the street. I followed her in silence, dreading her cold demeanor, the predictable lecture, but I obeyed and walked. Once I pleaded,

"Look at me." But she never did.

The winter cold had stripped all the leaves off the branches. Now fresh snow began to stretch its soft coat over them. There was white cat hair clinging to the back of Blanca's green suit. I brushed it off without slowing us down.

Blanca's breath still came hard and fast when she finally slowed her pace in the park. I hung my head and waited for my punishment. To my surprise she said,

"I saw some Picasso drawings done in his eighties. Picasso had been preoccupied with sexual images all his life. As his sexual powers waned he became obsessed with female anatomy. Vaginas were drawn ugly as ragged, gaping mouths, hissing copperheads or fire-spewing gargoyles. No longer was sex a life force to be celebrated but a menace, an overwhelming danger. Guernica was all I could think of."

I knew immediately what Blanca was trying to tell me.

"When sex is safe, it's boring," I said.

We walked on and said no more.

Uncle Otis's Diary from World War II Prison Camp.
Summer 1946

How can I feel desire when I am exhausted, hungry and tired and with waning hope? But my desire is alive and well and it bothers me even as I lie, sweat-bathed and work-beaten on my straw mattress. The mattress smells of rotten wheat and unwashed clothing. I shield my eyes against my fantasies and let them fly to my beloved Emma. What might she be doing? Ironing the starched bed sheets? Do they have starch among their rations? Or is she about to bake her delicious sour dough bread which rises slowly in a large wooden bowl? If Emma is going to bake bread, I know she will have covered the dough with a cheese cloth to let the air filter through. We need air in the bunker. The heat is stifling.

Suddenly an image arises out of the misty past. Emma and I are at the pond in the park. It is a tender summer evening and no one else is in sight. We have finished the picnic that her mother prepared. We have eaten and shared a bottle of lovely, light Schwäbische white wine. The wine must have gone to Emma's head. With uncharacteristic frivolity she challenges me,

"Let's strip."

Off comes her skirt. She tosses her shoes, and then sheds her blouse and hose. She stands before me in her bra and underpants, suddenly shy.

"Your turn," she yells and then instead of waiting for me to undress she sprints toward the water and plunges in.

The lake is covered with algae. We call it duck algae because the ducks gobble it up like fresh greens. It makes a perfect cover and only Emma's head bobs above the surface, like a water lily. I never got another glimpse of Emma's beautiful body. I dive in next to her and we swim until it gets dark and then we slip from the water without another glance. We giggle as we walk home, the picnic basket between us and our underwear stuck to our skin.

My sex troubles me. It stirs beneath my flimsy, patched trousers. I fetch a sheet of paper from underneath the mattress and start writing. I smell the fragrance of Emma that night, a bit of algae, a bit of damp hair, and I see her mischievous smile. I am with her as I write this and I kiss her sweetly.

Suddenly my eyelids feel heavy and I know I can sleep after I have carefully hidden my worn-down pencil and this one piece of folded paper. I have to be very miserly with my paper. I hope my dreams will be of Emma.

She appears and I dream of kissing her lips, moist as a juicy peach. The thought makes me thirsty even as I sleep. Maybe tomorrow we will get a single cup of water before we set out for the quarry.

Just a Few Feathers
by Ute Carson

Available from Plain View Press.

Acclaimed novelist and poet Ute Carson presents her latest poetry collection, a sweeping, emotional selection of her most powerful poetry. Winner of numerous national awards, Ute brings her unique perpective and keen insight to every project.

Just A Few Feathers is now available from online. Buy now!

Praise for Just a Few Feathers

"Ute Carson manages to find universal truths in ordinary things, and clothes them in language that is at once beautiful and profoundly universal. The result is a music that sings in our very core."
-Leticia Austria, Poet

"The author employs a number of poetic tools to convey her thoughts, including wonderful imagery and simple yet effective phrasing."
-Harmony McGlothlin, Publisher & Editor

"A gladness for life and family is countered by occasional poem lines of survived horror. Such lines render the poet steeled in mind and intensely honed to mankind's fallacies. Ute Carson's Just a Few Feathers is a collection one wants to keep close by and refer to often."
-Kaye Voight Abikahled, The Poetry Society of Texas

Save the Last Kiss
by Ute Carson

Available from Plain View Press.

Reminiscences of first love are woven through letters from Sophia, a German journalist now living in Spain, as she writes to her dying friend, Klaus.

Sophia recalls the emotional experiences they shared as they came of age, and recounts how she wrestled with the discovery that Klaus was in a serious relationship with someone else while courting her.

As Sophia writes, she learns that clinging to a romantic attachment from the past risks crippling her capacity to love in the present.

Save the Last Kiss is now available from online. Buy now!

Praise for Save the Last Kiss

"Using the all but lost love letter form, the author recalls Sophia’s conflicted lifelong love for her dying friend, Klaus, in a series of poignant letters. Sophia’s memories describe classic themes of love and death concluding that while her love was idealized, it amplified true goodness in both their lives."
- R.J. Nelson
- Author of Dirty Waters, Confessions of Chicago's Last Harbor Boss

"Through a series of letters Sophia writes to her first love, Klaus, when he is at the end of his life, revealing the secrets of her heart and life. Her vivid, poetical language leaves an indelible imprint on the reader’s mind. Save the Last Kiss narrates a story of love, betrayals, and different kinds of relationships. Her writing is compelling and loaded with suspense and psychological insights."
- Julia Hones
- Poet and writer, former poetry editor of Southern Pacific Review