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.
"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)
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.
You, know? I feel so sorry for
Elsa. It was a good story, but parts made me mad.
When Elsa got cancer
Elsa protecting Bruce all the time from his Father.
Elsa, of course
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.
Chet Mason. Also, his depiction of the drunken prohibition-era party was hilarious!
Elsa, for her dignity and strength.
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!
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!!!
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.
Bramhall's narration did a fantastic job of capturing many distinct personalities - men,women and children alike.
An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.
Wallace Stegner confronts the family dynamic in this book, asking the reader to consider how much family impacts day-to-day actions and character. This story revolves around the Mason family, as the family seeks security during the Prohibition and Great Depression in the Western US and Canada. The story dragged during the beginning stages, as there was an awkwardness in the narrative when the children were still young. Bruce, the youngest child, was a difficult youth, and the sections that dealt with his troubles dragged down the story. But once Bruce became an adult, independent from his father, his confidence allowed him to engage in the family dynamic in a more interesting and substantial manner.
Audible make my long commute so enjoyable! I love historical fiction, Nora Roberts, and any science related audibles (not enough of those).
YES!@ The description of nature and people in this book can be felt so much that you are there looking right at them. The young boys in the novel are anything but the real thing... there thoughts and statements.. It brougth me back to so many of my thoughts as a child.. and watching others. I love it!
They are all so good.
The description of the taste and feel of the countryside is excellent. I am there and brings me back to the times when I have been out in the woods... looking out at snow.. or looking into the dark of night.
A big surprize to me.. I could not stop listening!
The Grapes of Wrath
Families dealing with adversity. The father Bo Mason engenders empathy although he is the catalyst for his wife and son's misfortunes. Bo is also a victim of the times.
Great voice that suits the themes and environment portrayed
Epic tale of flawed characters of the American West in the early 20th century
A wonderful story,expertly told & written with characters that you really know bceause they are so well depicted. My first Stegner book & what a remarkable find- this man really knows how to write a compelling story.
Loves a good book
Haven't read the book - discovering Stegner rather late in life via my son. Heard short story on NPR and fascinated by it. I feel that Mr. Bramhall brings so much to his reading; characters live. I'd never say that about a movie vs a book read. I look forward to either reading (favorite thing to do) all of Stegner or listening while I quilt.
Elsa is formidable in her tenacity - in her choice to leave home against her family's wishes and in her determination to stay with Bo, no matter the personal cost. I have to remind myself that women of those times did not have the options open to women of today, so though much of her life was hardfought and a misery, she's heroic in her protection of those she loved. Bo - determined to grind out a living according to his own ideas and was, most of his life, pushing his personal boulder up a rugged mountain. Almost have to admire that.
I could hear the people clearly - woman, child or man. Thank you Mr. Bramhall
It was heartbreaking to realize this is autobiographical in many ways; to know most of this was Stegner's personal story. How dificult to write Bruce's first visit to the mortuary. Only someone who lived those moments could write exactly those words.
Very telling that Stegner's father's grave is unmarked.
"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.
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