Audible Fan, Amazon Customer, Gardener, Quilter, Liberal and Activist. I'll read about anything!
A true saga of a Texas family from early frontier days to the 1990s portrayed by 3 excellent actors who really were their parts-this was a 'listen all day' kinda book. I'm glad I had a rainy sunday to spend lazing on the couch and totally getting into the stories that were related of 3 generations of the McCullough family...
Kudos especially to Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew and Scott Shepherd for their interpretations of Eli, Jennie and Peter-I was really *there* listening to them...at Cherokee campsites, at the frustrations of a feminist who didn't know she was a feminist dealing with men who didn't take her seriously and at frustrated Peter who loved a woman forbidden by racial restrictions to him.
These narrators/actors wouldn't have been nearly as successful without the wonderful novel..one of those books MADE for audiobook...by Phillip Meyer. A true saga of a book that puts Edna Ferber's "Giant" to shame..made me see how 'Hollywood"Giant was.
***spoiler here***** My only disappointment - and it was truly because I wanted a 'happy-there-gotcha ending' was having the last Garcia child ride hell bent for leather back over the Rio Grande when I so wanted Jennie to accept him as a true son of the family. Well..guess I wanted a 'Hollwyood ' ending there and it didn't happen.****end spoiler***
Congratulations to all involver for a fantastic novel that kept this listener glued to the iPad.
I appreciated the historical context of conflicts among White newcomers, Indians, and Mexicans as well as the background of Texas cattle and oil. I did not like the characters and, without a plot, their stories grew tiresome.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
“There were people who ate the earth and those that stood around and watched them do it.”
So said Lillian Hellman in “The Little Foxes”, and the quote is apt for the McCullough dynasty in “The Son”. For all of its ambition to present a sweeping epic of Texas history through the eyes of three generational representatives, these three characters came across as soulless and selfish, with no clear motivations for their lives, simply grasping for what they could acquire no matter the cost or who had to pay it – generally the Mexicans and other family members.
Eli’s story is admittedly the most colorful, with his abduction by the Comanches, his life with them, and afterwards in the Texas Rangers and the Confederate Army. But none of it ever felt as adventurous as expected. Much of it was just gruesome and murderous, but quite emotionless, even for the victims. The ease with which he changed allegiances, killing without conscience the enemy of the moment, spoke of a man with no soul or direction. Love was just as empty, expressed almost exclusively in sophomoric sexual terms (and too often with barnyard vocabulary).
Peter (Eli’s son) and Jeannie (Eli’s great granddaughter) each eventually inherit to various degrees the empire, but exist only through the prism of Eli’s life – Peter hating him and Jeannie mythologizing him. Neither ever feel adequate with themselves, so they are weak and inadequate characters, and I found them essentially sterile. Lacking heartfelt emotions, I felt nothing for them. All background characters were just that: background and generally one-dimensional, too often stereotyped.
Narration – 2/3’s good. Patton and Shepherd did well with Eli and Peter. Kate Mulgrew to my ears was grating and rough, trying too hard to portray a tough Texas gal, which just came across as a whiskey roughened broad, often indistinguishable from the male voices.
I know this is a dissenting vote – most reviewers loved the book. I felt it was cynical and spoke to the futility of life spent only on building dynasties and not relationships. I'll give it three stars for ambition and many of the well written passages, but I found little inspiring or uplifting to recommend it.
Complex. Nostalgic. Brutal.
Peter McCullough, because he agonized over his good fortune, verses the right way to live life on earth.
When Maria Garcia returned to the Ranch, and Peter fell in love with her. His journals were filled with sharp longing; their situation, emotions were raw and haunting.
Were it possible, yes.. but I enjoyed each different chapter, a different character and time frame, converging into the big picture.
It. Was. Amazing.
"There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
I cannot add much more to the great reviews of this novel by listeners, readers and critics. I loved the literary devices used to tell this spectacular story of a Texas family, which is, in many ways, reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.
This is, by a long shot, the best book I've listened to. The best material by the best narrators. I also read it, but I can't be as bold in my assessment of the book in print.
I finished this in July and am just now sitting down to write a review. The novel sticks with you like any great piece of art, be it a novel, movie, painting or song.
I cannot recommend this enough.
I don't believe this is, as one reviewer suggested, an almost perfect novel. When edits so scour an ending as if the publisher just said "enough already", the reader is left with an unfinished and undigested meal. It does however imitate other "great" contemporary literary talent whose affinity for abrupt and blunt endings, is an art form
Meyer is a gifted writer with perceptibly detailed research and character development. Yet, the hackneyed themes of America's (and the human race's) inglorious past, as if it is the only one we have, despairing lives, as if hope, possibility and redemption are literary evils, Nietzschean tragedy, as if futility and the willful directionless of the strong willed are the only ones who "inherit the earth" become so predictable as to be laughable, were the stories not so depressing.
It's almost seems as if Meyer writes for a narrow audience of peers whose validation he will, I have no doubt, receive. I, for one, find these kinds of novels...a waste of talent and thus my time. As always, Will Patton is excellent, as are his fellow readers.
" I have my mind... & a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." -T.L.
I read this book after reading a review from a person who I've trusted on a number of books & she has not left me down with any novels yet... This book is quite the historical fiction that is able to contain complex metaphors, multiple-generational-long end life crisis's a human might go thru. In this case its thru the eyes of a family that spans over a hundred years but starts with one, larger than life character... Eli McCullough, a man who was taken when he was a boy by one of the most ruthless group of Indians in history, the Comanches.
Eli lives thru this ordeal to become an accepted part of the tribe & I found myself wanting to hear more & more, by the end I could have listened to the whole book if it was just about Eli & his POV on his life with a smaller concentration of the other characters in the book although they were not uninteresting, the combination of Will Patton's narration, life trials he went thru in the hands of 'savages' & then the life trials he went thru once returning to 'civilized society,' & of course the authors style of writing containing the vivid descriptions, POV analysis from a man with this unique background, metaphoric & real life issues he conquers in his own way which then reach way beyond his mere life but into the lives of the other character POV's... Eli's timid, yet 'educated & civilized' son Peter who has trouble bridging the gap between him & his father or even understanding the gap that separates them & great-grand daughter Jeannie who doesn't have this father-son problem but a much larger gender bias in a time where the oil barrons of Texas were making they're marks in histrory.
The chapters go by & each one is a POV of one of the characters plus a surprise one near the end & u see what it meant to have a father or any number of other family members as the family name grows to represent the rugged, wild state of Texas & perhaps in a real cheesy analogy why no one 'messes with Texas' lol. I enjoyed this book because listening to the internal dialogue of a completely dominate alpha male, a 'boy' who is essentially the polar opposite of his father but is too 'weak willed' to show anyone around him he is the rightful heir or should be taken seriously, & finally a woman in a man's business that finds a way to continue & grow the family legacy bigger than ever until the climactic end where the entries of an old man, love-sick son, & slowly growing 'senile' matriarch show the inner workings of their minds to readers. This climatic end should not be revealed because everything leading up to it foreshadows much of what happens but it is up to the reader to be able to try & imagine what this life that at least I've only ever heard about, & in this case read about. With the narration & writing I would most def. put this piece up there with parts of the 'Lonesome Dove Series' & other Western novels.
Put on ur war paint & take a small look into the eye's of death from 3 different POV stemming from the same biological start because even Eli ends up giving a POV that seems like an entirely diff. person before & after his Native American experiences... Great book, just wish there was more 'Patton' & 'Eli' because it was at the least one of the more intriguing perspectives an American can try to imagine.
This book is about money, murder, and the choice to be free. The female narrator reminded me of Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged. Her choices and sense of self are not reflective of the time in which she lives. Peter is flawed, and the moral compass of the novel. As the seeker and questioner, Peter is the historian of the truth in a time when myths were formed in the West. The Colonel is in a class all by himself. How he attains wealth and his pursuit of power and his story is captivating.
Say something about yourself!
Yes, because it is well written and read. A story of that transcends time and place, to come together as a cohesive story about a remarkable set of characters. That brings the reader into a bond with them that must be seen though to the end. And read by a great cast of people that brings it to life in so much better way than if I ear it myself.
The great variation of the kind of characters. Both in personalities and times.
No I have not. However I would look forward to listening to any of them read any of my future books.
Eli McCullough. To meet and get to know a man that is such a survivor, and man who has seen so much change in his life.
I have read other books that weave characters in time and place in the past. And many times I have not enjoyed them. But this author does it so well and with all the right times and places that it really works well. And in the end it seems that this is the best way to bring all these characters together, and make it work as an epic journey though the journey of several generations of a family.