Charles Wolford

Sten’s Guns

The Harder They Come


Bloomsbury 384pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

‘The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.’ That line, from D H Lawrence’s Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), is the epigraph of The Harder They Come, a novel that opens with headlong force: Sten and Carolee Stensen, retirees from California, are on a cruise through Costa Rica when local men try to rob their tour group. Sten chokes the leader; the others flee. The vacationers hail him as a hero, but his outburst of violence shadows the Stensens’ return home,

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