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Publisher's Summary

Joe Allston, the retired literary agent in Stegner’s National Book Award-winning novel The Spectator Bird, returns in this disquieting and keenly observed novel.
Scarred by the senseless death of their son and baffled by the engulfing chaos of the 1960s, Allston and his wife, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And although their new home looks like Eden, it also has its serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of drugs, yoga, and sex, and Marian Catlin, an attractive young woman whose otherwordly innocence is far more appealing—and far more dangerous.
©1967 Wallace Stegner (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“Timely and timeless....Will hold any reader to its last haunting page.” (Chicago Tribune)
“A novel of crackling vividness.” (New York Times Book Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By B.J. on 10-22-12

Another winner from Stegner

I always feel like I have to say at the top of a Wallace Stegner review, "No, it's not Angle of Repose." But not many things are. It ranks high on my all time favorite list. But it is Wallace Stegner and that's always better than nearly anyone else.

There's a certain honesty in the way Stegner writes that takes my breath away. He has a way of admitting to his weaknesses and failures in a way that makes you understand that it's possible to own those things. He doesn't dwell on it, but that honesty always sits right in the front.

He writes about the world as it is - not the world he wants it to be. And that is what makes his books so lovely.

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15 of 17 people found this review helpful


By Ken Draeger on 02-07-14

Depressing, but oh so well written

This story is told through the eyes of a man whose son died at an early age, and he's not sure what he could have done to prevent it. It also centers on his neighbor lady who is dying of cancer. In spite of these sad circumstances, the book is well worth the read. The prose is so utterly descriptive, it requires you to read on and on. And before you know it you have come to the end longing for more. Cheers, Ken

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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