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The Big Rock Candy Mountain | [Wallace Stegner]

The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Bo Mason, his wife, and his two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running throughout the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.
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Publisher's Summary

Bo Mason, his wife, and his two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running throughout the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.

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.

©1938 1940, 1942, 1943 by Wallace Stegner; (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Stegner has felt the spell of mountain and prairie, of drought, flood, and blizzard....a harrowing saga." - (New York Times)
"Stands out beautifully and unforgettably." (New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (591 )
5 star
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Overall
4.1 (362 )
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (368 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (10)
Performance
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  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-16-11
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 06-16-11 Member Since 2007

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No, it's not "Angle of Repose" ..."

    but it's still brilliant work from Stegner -- who is certainly one of America's finest 20th century authors.

    While this might be semi-autobiographical, it will get you thinking about more than Stegner's early life. It's really about all those dreamers you've ever known -- the people for whom daily life is just never enough. I am never disappointed with a Stegner book. Rather, I end it and wonder what to read next that will even be half as good.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri 04-25-13
    Terri 04-25-13
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    "Powerful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I just finished listening to Mark Bramhall's narration of The Big Rock Candy Mountain, and Wallace Stegner has done the miraculous: through his writing, reached through the years and grabbed my soul. Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely!I truly wish I knew someone these days who has a deep and abiding love of great fiction, AND the willingness to take the time: for this is it!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Big Rock Candy Mountain?

    I feel to tell which one would be too much of a spoiler.


    Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

    Hmmm...I guess it has to be Harry Mason. However, he did a most remarkable job narrating all the characters, regardless of age or gender.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Nay nay...25 hours is too much...however I was always reluctant to pause it at the conclusion of my day's commute.


    Any additional comments?

    Stegner's insights into the American pioneer psyche were profoundly moving, and rang true all the way to the deepest part of the quest to undertand complex characters. Stegner does not disappoint the avid reader with tidy, saccharine endings.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daisy VINALHAVEN, MAINE, United States 02-26-13
    Daisy VINALHAVEN, MAINE, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Goes on and on"
    Would you try another book from Wallace Stegner and/or Mark Bramhall?

    Yes, not my favorite narrator or author but I would give each another listen.


    If you’ve listened to books by Wallace Stegner before, how does this one compare?

    I have not.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mark Bramhall?

    If I wanted to hear another book because of the story but not just because of his narration, it's kind of dull.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Maybe, because it would have to be shorter than this drawn out version! The story is potentially an interesting one but it goes on and on with more and more bad luck for this poor family due to (the father) Bo's inability to stay in one place and his compulsion for trying get rich quick schemes one after the other. I got a little exasperated with the mother character for sticking with him, (and standing up for him and going along with him etc.) but I suppose it was a different time in history and women were supposed to "stand by their man". It's apparent the mother feels she made the decision to be with Bo and now she has to live with that decision but that got a bit tiresome after his continual behavior and cycles of bad temper and uprooting the family again and again for some unrealistic money making scheme.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the length, (and I usually like long audio books) paired with this narrator's voice makes this book hard to stick through to the end. I remember thinking in the first third of the book "There's two more sections to go?" I think it should have and could have been shortened and it would have been just as good if not better and all the important things could have been retained.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele 10-08-12
    Michele 10-08-12
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    "A bit disappointing"
    Would you try another book from Wallace Stegner and/or Mark Bramhall?

    Yes


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Ok. Too much exposition around the drama. I felt it was an inferior cousin to to Stegner's Angle of Repose.


    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    I've listened to several books read by Mark Bramhall and this was my least favorite.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherrie GLENDALE, AZ, United States 09-26-12
    Sherrie GLENDALE, AZ, United States 09-26-12
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    "Couldn't put it down!!!"
    Would you listen to The Big Rock Candy Mountain again? Why?

    I don't review books, but this one I felt compelled to because it was a great story that made you feel like you were there, The performance was excellent, I even LOL'd. I didn't want it to end. Just gotta read....


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bruce as a little boy was my favorite character because he reminded me of my brother's when we were young and made me remember our young imaginations.


    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    Mark Bramhall made you feel each character, just wish there would have been more about Laura and the baby.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita Riegelsville, PA, United States 05-17-12
    Anita Riegelsville, PA, United States 05-17-12
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    "Big Rock Family Saga"

    I enjoyed this book a lot. For some reson it reminded me of The Great Santini, which I read years ago and loved. I found the precarious balance between the mother and father facinating and all too common. However, It was easy to care about all these people. The story provided an interesting view of another time , and kept me engaged and entertaind for, um, how many hours was that?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Calgary, AB, Canada 05-23-11
    Elizabeth Calgary, AB, Canada 05-23-11 Member Since 2008

    A gadabout with no room for heavy books, so love the audio ones.

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    "Very enjoyable"

    You have to be patient and in for the long ride. But in the end it was a very good listen. I recommend it. The Narrator was great !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 04-03-11
    Bebe El Dorado, AR, United States 04-03-11 Member Since 2009
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    "Sometimes hard to keep listening"

    If you have ever lived with someone with a hair-trigger temper, this book may be hard for you to listen to. Several times I had to just turn it off for a while. There was "impending doom" through much of the book. Still, it was interesting and a good, well-written story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benedict 03-23-11
    Benedict 03-23-11 Member Since 2003

    Benedict

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    "Quite an emotional punch"

    This is a superbly written, powerfully emotional story about a man and a woman who begin their lives at the beginning of the last century. They are an unlikely couple. She is a decent, caring woman, and her new husband is a bad-tempered man who is looking for the “big rock candy mountain,” yet they both love and support each other through their lives.

    The emotional punch here is so strong I had to put the ‘pod down for a day a couple of times just so I could go on with it.

    I have just finished Madame Bovary by Flaubert. I wonder if both these novels deserve to be called masterpieces. The writing in each, but particularly with Big Rock, is most clearly perfect “chiseled” English with every word meaning something.

    The narration is superb and, as I sometimes remark, it makes those of us who listen to books happy we have found this medium.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-10-14
    Jonelle Camp Hill, PA, United States 08-10-14 Member Since 2008

    A librarian who loves to read, whether in print or in the air

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    "Barely could come up for air"

    Wow! Wow! Wow! What beautiful writing about the American West in the first half of the 20th century. Stegner's 500+-page semi-autobiographical novel was so well written and compelling that I could barely come up for air. Mark Bramhall's narration was well-matched to this family saga. A must-listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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