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The Big Rock Candy Mountain Audiobook

The Big Rock Candy Mountain

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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 (740 )
5 star
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4.1 (479 )
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Story
4.3 (483 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    nancy 12-02-12
    nancy 12-02-12
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    "Powerful Story"
    What did you love best about The Big Rock Candy Mountain?

    Didn't know it was a autobiograpy until read. Makes it even more memorable when you know this is his own story. Enjoyed it immensely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alana 11-22-12
    Alana 11-22-12 Member Since 2011

    knittingnut

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    "Stegner rocks"

    A story spanning a lifetime during the years of prohibition, the characters in this story come alive as Stegner writes about them. As one listens, you feel like you are living along with them. This novel makes one think about what makes a person good or bad, and whether certain characteristics of a person lean them in one direction or the other.

    A long novel, but to me it didn't seem repetitive or longer than it needed to be to outline and fill in the story line.

    An excellent listen, performed well by the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kat MD 11-16-12
    Kat MD 11-16-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Mason's West"

    This is a tough book to review because I was completely entranced by this book. I became very involved in the trials and triumphs of the Mason family. Still, I'm not sure who I would recommend this novel to. It's definitely a great piece of fiction, but I can't say I feel satisfied after reading it.

    Unfortunately, I think that was Stegner's point - the unsatisfactory end of a family trying to take advantage of the American dream. How much should you gamble? Can you raise children while being an American pioneer? What is the modern definition of pioneering if the West is already settled? If Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her Little House on the Prairie in the early 1900s...would it seem as delightfully innocent?

    I definitely think Stegner's voice is an important one in American literature. In the future, I'd read another one of his novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 10-28-12
    Theodore San Diego, CA, United States 10-28-12 Member Since 2007
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    "a masterpiece"

    A disfunctional family struggling through hard times, as seen throught he eyes of each member of the family. The best story I have listened to all year.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dianne Nelson Bay, Australia 10-27-12
    Dianne Nelson Bay, Australia 10-27-12
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    "Priceless Book - Great Narration"
    What made the experience of listening to The Big Rock Candy Mountain the most enjoyable?

    The story is set in the dying days of the US and Canadian frontiers, and the immediacy with which Stegner paints the wild times and places is fascinating. But more compelling is the way his writing brings the reader intimately close to the characters. He gets you right inside their skin.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a family saga and the main couple, Bo and Elsa Mason, are both flawed human beings, yet graced with extraordinary strengths and virtues. Across the length of the story they wrestle with the difficulties of their world, with each other and always with themselves. The reader is sometimes shocked by them and their circumstances, but never loses compassion for them.


    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    Mark's voice is haunting, perfect for this deeply introspective story, and most especially the voice of the violent and passionate Bo. A smooth, easy voice to listen to. He did his homework and worked in a variety of accents and gave all the many characters an individual tone.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    As I approached the last few chapters I didn't want the book to end. It's a big story. I listened to it over several days and wanted to cry because soon there'd be no more of it to unfold for me. When it ended, I went straight back to the beginning and started listening again.


    Any additional comments?

    The opening chapter is somewhat depressing and could put readers off. Keep listening. The instant Bo appears in the narrative, the story takes off on wings.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HDJ 10-21-12
    HDJ 10-21-12 Member Since 2016
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    "An amazing portrait of an historical time!"

    My first Wallace Stegner novel! Now I'm on a steady Stegner diet - slowly getting through every one of his books available on audible. I really like his writing style and the emotion that it carries. I can't believe I nearly gave up on Big Rock Candy Mountain. It took 3 attempts to get through part one which, to me, is the weakest part. From then on, the novel gathers strength and momentum dragging your emotions along for the ride. I believe Big Rock Candy Mountain is largely autobiographical. Perhaps those early painful experiences are what made Stegner the author I so admire. I mustn't forget the narrator. Mark Bramhall is wonderful and entirely right for the story. So, this is an all around 5 star read/listen that I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chloe COLUMBUS, OH, United States 10-15-12
    Chloe COLUMBUS, OH, United States 10-15-12
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    "wow"
    If you could sum up The Big Rock Candy Mountain in three words, what would they be?

    You, know? I feel so sorry for
    Elsa. It was a good story, but parts made me mad.


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

    When Elsa got cancer


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Elsa protecting Bruce all the time from his Father.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Big Rock Candy Mountain and why?

    Elsa, of course


    Any additional comments?

    Good book

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 10-13-12
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 10-13-12
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    "The big rock Candy Mountain"
    What did you love best about The Big Rock Candy Mountain?

    I liked how each of the characters played into the family dynamic. Even when Harry Mason was being a control freak, the story was fleshed out so that you could see all angles of it. The characters were lovable but flawed, and even if you didn't love the characters you understood them. The narration was also top-notch.


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

    Chet Mason. Also, his depiction of the drunken prohibition-era party was hilarious!


    Who was the most memorable character of The Big Rock Candy Mountain and why?

    Elsa, for her dignity and strength.


    Any additional comments?

    I purchased this book on a whim and am so glad I did! I have heard others say that it is not as good as Angle of Repose, so I am going to have to check that one out too!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy Waverly, OH, United States 10-08-12
    Judy Waverly, OH, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2011

    I have worked so hard for so long that I've had very little time to read. Enter iPhone4; now an earbud has cut driving time while I enjoy!!!

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    "Surprisingly Engaging"

    A wonderful piece of American History done here in a character study of an imperfect man and the woman who loved him. A scant 80 to 100 years ago life was fraught with unspeakable hardships. This is a very interesting, thoughtful and engaging tale of a family doing what they must to endure in the hard life of the American Northwest.

    I recommend this book very highly; you will not be able to put it down.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Murphy Dubai, United Arab Emirates 10-02-12
    Murphy Dubai, United Arab Emirates 10-02-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Masterful Performance"
    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    Bramhall's narration did a fantastic job of capturing many distinct personalities - men,women and children alike.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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