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The Son | [Philipp Meyer]

The Son

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2014

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim.

Spring, 1849: Eli McCullough is 13 years old when a marauding band of Comanches takes him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and waging war against their enemies, including white men - which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is. But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild, he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong - a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

©2013 Philipp Meyer (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1886 )
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4.4 (1691 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-08-13
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-08-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    115
    ratings
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    48
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    Performance
    Story
    "Starts off with a bang, ends with a whine"

    I just looked over the other reviews of this book and I am struck by how many people loved it, just a couple of reviewers had the same experience that I did. I was caught up right away by the story, thought it was going to be great and ordered a paper copy for a friend. I should have waited. Perhaps reading it wouldn't be as bad as listening to the reader who told the story from Peter's perspective. Whine whine whine! Even during the time in his life when he is supposedly happy he sounds whiney. I had hoped for a story more about Texas and less about relationships in this family. It seemed to me frequently to be written not from the actual history, but more from a politically correct point of view currently in fashion. This is not great literature or great performance, think twice before using your credit on this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caitriona 06-25-13
    Caitriona 06-25-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    44
    3
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    Story
    "Overrated and dull."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Yes. Adding a plot would have been nice.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Meh. So what?


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Eli McCullough - Will Patton is the best. But even he couldn't save this for me.


    Could you see The Son being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No....Dullsville, Ohio.


    Any additional comments?

    I really didn't like this. The author was obviously attempting to write part paean, part elegy for The American Empire - its roots and decline, but it just ended up hitting you over the head with this in a rather unsubtle way. For instance - the Comanche Chief with Gibbons Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire as the stuffing for his shield.
    In the end I didn't care. The characters, with the exception of Peter, left me cold. There were no redeeming characteristics with which I could identify......

    The male narrators were great, especially Patton, of whom I am a big fan.

    I like her as an actress, but Mulgrew's voice really grates on the ears. I get that it suits Jeanne McCullough, but it is hard to listen to.

    This took me ages to get through because I really didn't look forward to putting it back on the player....that's not usual for me.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Big Mama Aiken, SC USA 07-30-15
    Big Mama Aiken, SC USA 07-30-15 Member Since 2015
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    2
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "I didn't want it to be over!"
    Would you listen to The Son again? Why?

    Yes. I love listening to Will Patton. I search for his books. The other narrators of this book were excellent as well. There are some accents of narrators that I can't tolerate. These all were soothing to me and suited me just fine.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved it all. I love the way this book is written. The author is amazing and I will look for other works by him. I loved hearing about the indians and their way of life.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Eli was my favorite. I just love Will Patton's voice. He makes his characters come alive. He narrates at a good speed for me. Not too slow and not too fast. He is not just reading. He is in character,.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were many moments in this book that were moving.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this book highly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Armando 07-26-15
    Armando 07-26-15 Member Since 2010
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    130
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    "Family"

    The son is an engaging family saga about the settling of Texas. I could stop listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane E Kesty 07-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "good book!"

    i was a little lost at first, but when i understood who was who i found myself thinking about it during the day and anticipating getting back to it! i love how everything came full circle!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darrell 07-15-15
    Darrell 07-15-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Trying too hard and pointless in the end"

    Potential for a good book. However the book wanders and the characters, which you hope will intertwine
    in the end, never do and it seems like a long book with little point. The author tries to create a literature that was made for the ages. But the trying seems forced and feels at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Billie P. Sessions California 07-13-15
    Billie P. Sessions California 07-13-15 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Engaging & Melancholy"
    What made the experience of listening to The Son the most enjoyable?

    The best part was the sincere & genuine research & history of Texas. This historical fiction was certainly worth wading through the borderline gloomy tone & emotions this story conjured. I totally enjoyed it, but I am melancholy over both the tones of the narrator's (dead on) voices and the story line. It's a heart 'drooping' . . . saga.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning so much about the early history of Texas.


    Any additional comments?

    I would like a geneology of this family - the way the story was told it was to hard follow the family tree . . .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 07-11-15
    antonio genthod, Switzerland 07-11-15 Member Since 2011

    A man's got to do what a man's got to do..

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ambitious and powerful, but ultimately disappointi"

    There are two different layers that are key to understand and appreciate this book .
    First there is the individual story told by, a chapter at a time, three members of the McCulloughs family. They are Eli (the colonel) 1836 - 1936; his son Peter (born 1870); Peter's granddaughter Jeannie (born 1926). The second layer –and the very strong background to the individual narratives- is the big picture of Texas , its mindset , lifestyle , business and society. The book is ambitious and powerful in its language and striking by its atmosphere, but left me uninvolved and a bit disappointed.
    The book is chopped up mercilessly into the three life stories of which only the first one (that deals with young Eli growing up as Indian captive and then –back to “civilization”(?)- ranching and building an empire) is very interesting and moving, particularly when describes the life in the Comanche village. The other two main characters are far less engaging: Peter is depressed, self-absorbed and unwilling to stand up to his father, while Jeannie is the kind of person incapable to generate any sort of empathy (readers included).
    I guess the message of the book is everyone who has ever "owned" the land stole it from whoever has it last. This is ok, but did it need to take 18 hours –and little fun- to say it ?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Eischens 07-07-15 Member Since 2013
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    11
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    Story
    "Difficult to follow, but ties together well at the end"

    The performance was superb! The story is very powerful in its scope and impact. However, at times I was puzzled about how the narrative moved the story forward as it jumped from character to character. I assume the written book has a family tree as a reference. Despite my occasional difficulty following the story, it came together well at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cait 06-12-15
    Cait 06-12-15 Member Since 2015
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    11
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    "Incredible!"

    Amazing storyline, wonderful narration! The best since Lonesome Dove! Meyer's absolutely nailed the western novel!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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