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Publisher's Summary

Five Skies, beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in 30 years, is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. There he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch, who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year.
©2007 Ron Carlson; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"Carlson writes with uncommon precision, and this return to long-form fiction after four well-received story collections is stunning." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Andrew on 07-27-07

A first-rate audio experience.

“Five Skies” written and narrated by Ron Carlson, is a considered and uplifting portrait of male life. Three emotionally scarred strangers find themselves together on a construction project deep in the back blocks of rural Idaho. As spring turns into summer a camaraderie is quietly forged as they gradually reveal their stories to each other. As the summer progresses healing and resolution begin. The story itself is relaxed and measured but at times it flares into life with frightening intensity and the action is perilous and real. The characters are all recognizable and familiar men, fundamentally decent and honest, trying to come to grips with the tragedy and change that life has thrust upon them. Arthur Key is especially memorable as the mentor figure trying to redefine his emotional centre. There are many moments in the story worth revisiting. The depictions of working life. The satisfaction of mastering new skills, problem solving and a job well done. The simple pleasures of a meal under the stars after a tiring day. The joy of watching a young man growing into himself. While not a faultless novel, any inconsistencies can be forgiven for at its heart this story is deeply authentic. This was a first-rate audio experience, compelling and absorbing, and I recommend it without hesitation.

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36 of 36 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Rio Delta Wild on 03-08-08

an excellent listen

From a woman's perspective, I think this book reminded me of forgotten parts of a man's psyche. I'd especially recommend this story to young men in high school. Young girls with a penchant for building things or a desire to better understand the men around them might enjoy it too. The characters are believable and the values they demonstrate are excellent. This is a story about forgiveness, and it's worth a listen. Doesn't have a fairy tale ending.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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