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
I had sworn off audible books after a number that under-delivered (I continued to use my subscription but only for newspapers and magazines). This book has turned me around, and I'd love to read more like it.
There are plenty of well-written reviews online from various newspapers; I can't improve upon them and won't give anything away (some of them give away too much). Suffice it to say that the author has worked hard to shape this into a fascinating, historically significant, and compelling story about Texas and the settling of the American West--and his work has paid off. The narration is spot-on too; each narrator seems perfectly chosen for the character they play. And there is plenty to contemplate once you've read the last page, about certain not-fully answered questions and why it's best they were left that way, about who if anyone was right and who if anyone was fully wrong, and about what this family's story tells us about ourselves and our nation. It will certainly leave you wanting more.
This was a great book. Rivals epic novels like lonesome dove in its details and characters. I recommend it to anyone.
This has been the best book I have listened to on audible yet. I average a book or more a week (I listen while I work). What a fantastically moving ending. Characters are fully developed. Portrayal of the Comanches was a very delicate dichotomy of the good & the bad. Excellent read.
This story was too large of a time period to enjoy. There were so many characters in the novel that it was hard to remember who was who and in what time span. He could have written a mini series and focused on one time period per book instead.
It is definitely a bleak novel in following the history of the three members of the McCullough family. I was definitely glad when the novel was over. A lot of people raved about this book, however, I can only give it an average rating.
I love the narrator, Will Patton, but wish Phillipp Meyer had written a better book for him to read.
Born and raised in Texas, I related to many of the historic details mentioned, references to political figures, the savings and loan debacle of the 80s, the attitudes of the ranchers and farmers. This is a hard story, never softened for the faint of heart. How a man could so vividly espouse the feelings, insecurities, and inner dialogue of a strong woman so convincing is remarkable. The characters are strong and, if not always likeable, they were well developed and interesting. It is a story you will think about.
It's right near the top overall, but it is by far the best narration performance that I've heard.
My favorite characters were Eli's Comanche "brothers". I particularly enjoyed their dialogue - both the way it was written and the way it was performed.
More than any other performance I've heard, these narrators bring the characters to life. I've noticed that sometimes when I watch "Orange Is the New Black" I hear Jeanne in Kate Mulgrew's voice and it brings her character back to me.
Yes, I laughed a lot - mostly about Eli's coming of age - and grieved some (although I won't go into any spoilers here).
I probably wouldn't normally have picked this book up, but I tried it here because I'd read a couple of very positive reviews in Esquire and Entertainment Weekly. I was very satisfied overall, and wrote this review mostly to remind my future self that it might be nice to listen again later on.
I picked up the book not knowing what to expect. Based on the description I expected the story of a young man captured and adopted by a Native band. Well, it is this and much more, as the story traces the effects of migration and exploitation in Texas from 1830 through to the present.
While this may seem overly ambitious, the use of the characters through different generations is very effective. At first, as with many novels employing this technique, the switching of multiple view points and periods of time can be challenging. After about a quarter of the book, as you get more attuned to the various characters, it does become more readable.
While the characters were were interesting, they definitely weren't characters that endear themselves to your heart. Greed and ambition are the underlying threads to the individual stories in the book. It may well be a work of fiction, but the events portrayed within probably aren't too far off the mark as to how events were galvanized over the past century and a half.
My only criticism that stopped me from giving 5 stars was the last quarter of the book. The ending seemed rushed, and the characters at the end, those of the next generation, seemed less developed and hurried. Perhaps this was intentional, or maybe the author faced a deadline. Regardless, it detracted from the story a bit.
The multiple narrators were excellent. Each character had it’s own voice and cadence, which made switching between people and time easier than in print.
If you’re interested in American history and enjoy the western setting, then this book should appeal to you. This audible experience was definitely worth the credit.
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