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Based largely on his own childhood, Stegner has created a masterful, harrowing saga of a family trying to survive during the lean years of the early 20th century. It is the conflict between the hardscrabble existence and Bo's pursuit of the frontier myth and of the American dream that gives the book such resonance and power.
"Stands out beautifully and unforgettably." ( New Yorker)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Heimo on 05-26-10
deeply moving rollercoaster ride
i could not stop listening to this book and devoured it in less than three days. at the end i felt a little angry at the professors who let me get out of more than one American Novel class without reading anything by Stegner. i was looking for a book about the west and found this great book. Though i have often seen Stegner s books at used bookstores, i never picked one up. at the ripe old age of 51 i am thrilled to have discovered him. i have to say, this writing, this wise writing, makes Hemingway look like an adolescent.
Some of the themes in the book, marriage, ambition, fidelity, integrity (and the lack thereof) are obvious and hit you over the head. Other themes are so subtle and so magically delivered, i had the feeling a spell had been cast. In general, you follow two people who are in love with each other, and who have ideas about life that could not be more different. As they travel from one dream to another the landscape changes. From city to country to city, small towns, big cities, it is America growing up. One of the most fascinating themes in the book is change, and as you follow these characters you slowly realize how important the ability to change will be to their destiny.
Four main characters, and i fell hard for each one of them. i cannot remember when i read a book that made me tell so many people they must read it.
67 of 68 people found this review helpful
By Deborah on 12-09-10
The Best Ever
I have over 200 books in my audible library and this book and narrator are the best of the best. PLEASE GET THIS BOOK !! You won't be sorry. Sometimes after reading Sparks or Roberts or others, one forgets what truly incredible writing can do to the heart and soul. Stegner, with this book, makes one hunger for more of a deep and meaty, wonderfully written story. I lived this novel while listening to it. It will just take you over. And Mark Bramhall replaces Will Patton as my favorite narrator. He is perfect for this book.
If you want a book and narration that will make you smile, cry, and be furious, and is lyrical and sweet as well, this is the book for you.
39 of 40 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By sarahmoose2000 on 07-31-15
Blood is thicker
This was another book where you are introduced to the main character as a child, and see what an awful upbringing they had; so feel sympathy for them in adulthood. Then, they make the same mistakes they were running from in the first place, so you find it conflicting as to where your loyalties lie.
Bo is the dad and grows up living hand to mouth until he meets his wife and has two children. He's always looking for the next big thing, be it oil, gold or whisky and the family just has to go along with him as he is so violent it's not worth complaining. The family keep seeking their fortune across America and Canada and the history is rich along the way. You'll enjoy it.