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Lime Creek

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  122 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
In this wonderful work of fiction, Joe Henry explores the complex relationship between a father and his sons, whose deep connections to one another, to the land, and to the creatures that inhabit it give meaning to their lives.

Spencer Davis, his wife, Elizabeth, and their sons, Luke, Whitney, and Lonny, work with horses and with their hands. They spend long relentless days
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published June 14th 2011 by Random House (first published January 1st 2011)
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I soured on LIME CREEK quickly. Its author, Joe Henry, is apparently trying to out-Proulx Annie with this paean to Wyoming ranching life, but it turns out to be a pain to read, despite its brevity. Its chief offense is diction. For one thing, it seemed like 65% of Henry's "sentences" (I use the word loosely here) started with the word "And."

And so it started to annoy. And so did his use of sentence fragments. And you know damn well that I'm used to sentence fragments because it's not like they
Won an advanced proof copy from Goodread's Giveaways. I think to rate this book fairly, I need to give it 2 ratings, one for each section of the book. I'd give 4 stars to section one. I really enjoyed the first half of the book. It was sweet and touching. The story is about relationships and starts with a young couple and grows into a family. It was so endearing and a nice love story. The writing style is a little hard to get into it- at only 144 pages (and smaller pages with a larger font) I th ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing
If a novel could be a poem, Lime Creek is it.

Arresting in its imagery, surprising and poignant in both its style and point of view, Lime Creek transports the reader in its sharp realism like a stage rambling over an uneven trail, but comforts in the softness of its delivery - like the reassuring embrace of a trusted companion.

That companion is writer, Joe Henry. He is to be trusted. To be appreciated for his fearless depth in telling a deceptively simple tale... elevating ethereal emotion to the
Sep 20, 2015 Becca rated it liked it
I'm not sure what to rate this. I liked the beginning. I kinda like the middle. I got lost in the snowstorm at the end. It had flavors of books I liked but that it was a mash of several...I just don't know. The long breathless sentences combined with the novel's brevity overall felt like the author said a lot without telling me what I wanted to know.
Jun 09, 2011 Rene rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from the Goodreads giveaways program. It was pretty good and written very well but my dissapointment is that it was too short! Was this not a short story or what? The characters were solid but I wanted to follow them further or from the beginning at least. We only get snippets of their lives and some things are just left unexplained... I'm dying to know more!
Jenny Shank
Dec 27, 2011 Jenny Shank rated it really liked it

Love and loss on a Wyoming ranch: A review of Lime Creek
NEWS - From the High Country News December 26, 2011 issue
By Jenny Shank

Lime Creek
Joe Henry
160 pages, hardcover: $20.
Random House, 2011.

Woody Creek, Colo.-based Joe Henry studied at the Iowa Writer's Workshop with John Irving, but then detoured from writing fiction to work as a rancher, becoming a successful lyricist along the way. Henry's ravishing first work of fiction, Lime Creek, must have been ins
May 01, 2011 Irene rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First-reads program.

This book is a collection of anecdotes by two of the characters: Spencer, the father, and Luke, his son. The stories begin from Spencer's point of view, marrying his wife and his background, and switches to Luke's perspective when Luke is a teenager. There is no plot building in this book, which may bother some readers, but those who enjoy memoirs will enjoy this book very much.

However, this format of writing was a bit conf
Jim Ainsworth
Dec 31, 2012 Jim Ainsworth rated it it was amazing
I don’t remember why I bought this book, but I expect it was a strong positive review that appeared in something I read. It could have been because it takes place in Wyoming and there is a lot in the novel about horses and ranching. I also like the simplicity of the title, even the author’s name. Just Joe Henry.

The front cover has a blurb from Larry McMurtry calling it “a wonderful book”. I won’t disagree with that, but I might have used a different adjective. The cover also says fiction, not n
May 30, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
In this book, the author works from a simple premise: Telling the story of a man, the woman who becomes his wife, the sons they raise, and the place where they live. The beauty lies in the manner of the telling. Joe Henry has a distinctive, unique, idiosyncratic, singular prose style that in many instances approaches poetry. The story is told in a series of chapters or, perhaps more accurately, vignettes. Each presents a specific event and the impact it has in the life or lives of the particular ...more
Angela Gaskell
May 05, 2011 Angela Gaskell rated it liked it
This book is lovely and reads like the wind. From soft summer breezes to the depths of frigid winters it encapsulates small moments and fine details. The stories were not so connected but rather segmented. It felt like I was reading a series of shorts. At times the point of views changed. Sometimes it was third person omniscient and at other times it was first person point of view through Luke's eyes and then back to third. A bit confusing and distracting. I would like to know why the author did ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
I found a copy of this book for a quarter in a Tulsa used bookstore, and read it on a recent trip to Jackson Hole, WY. It was nice to walk in to the bookstore there in town and see it on the "Staff Suggests" shelf for one of the employees (Owen).

A bit of a mixed bag, when he keeps it simple and just tells a story (the work appears to be highly autobiographical) the collection of inter-related short chapters works wonderfully. Set in remote W WY in what seems to be the '70's or so. At times he ov
The Davis family--Spencer, Elizabeth, and their three sons--raise cattle, work with horses, and bring in the hay on their ranch. They survive the short summers and long, brutal Wyoming winters together, bonding to each other and to their horses. The boys also learn of their father's horrific war experiences that continue to torment him. There are also touching scenes such as celebrating an old fashioned Christmas Eve in the barn, singing carols with their neighbors by the Christmas tree, surroun ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Lime Creek is a beautiful novel set in stories about Wyoming rancher Spencer Davis and his wife Elizabeth and their sons. In the stories you find out about these wonderful, strong people and the harsh life that they have on the ranch raising horses and cattle. You follow their triumphs, tragedies and joy. Joe Henry is an award-winning lyricist and poet - who has written songs for John Denver, Garth Brooks, and even Frank Sinatra. He is a storyteller and what made reading this even better was the ...more
May 06, 2011 Terri rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Lime Creek by Joe Henry is an exploration of the Davis family through a series of moments that capture the heart of the characters. Lime Creek follows Spencer and Elizabeth Davis along with their three boys, Lonny, Whitney, and Luke. Together they live on a farm tending to horses and cattle. They also must endure brutal winters.

For readers that want a solid moving plot, they won't find it in this book. Instead, the reader gets short glimpses of specific moments for the family, such as a foal be
Book Duo
Jun 15, 2011 Book Duo rated it really liked it
Lime Creek is a beautiful novel set in stories about Wyoming rancher Spencer Davis and his wife Elizabeth and their sons. In the stories you find out about these wonderful, strong people and the harsh life that they have on the ranch raising horses and cattle. You follow their triumphs, tragedies and joy. Joe Henry is an award-winning lyricist and poet - who has written songs for John Denver, Garth Brooks, and even Frank Sinatra. He is a storyteller and what made reading this even better was the ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it
Lime Creek has some moments of incredibly lyrical prose. The entire book is poetic, reading like a love song to the Wyoming wilderness it describes. The first half of the book is more spare, while the second half, though still containing some moments of beautiful description, gets mired in such complex and convoluted sentences that it can be difficult to follow the narrative. Overall, the creative challenge of reading it is mostly worth it for some of the lovely sentences and passages that autho ...more
Oct 27, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it
Loved this book. The spare writing style takes a little getting used to. I found I needed to drop my expectation of how sentences and paragraphs are 'supposed' to be constructed and simply allowed myself to be carried into the harsh but beautiful Wyoming country and one family's ranch life through the author's rich, lyrical prose. Joe Henry clearly loves the country and the people who inhabit it. Their love of family, neighbors, animals and Wyoming comes through in every chapter. It isn't a book ...more
Jun 24, 2011 Steph rated it it was amazing
This is a very heartwarming story revolving around a family living in the country lands of Wyoming. The story starts off with the father, Spencer, and how he comes to meet his wife and quickly get married. The majority of the book is focused on his family life, which includes his three sons but focuses mostly on two of them. Without a doubt, Luke is the son most spoken about, and he seems to have several obstacles come his way throughout the course of the book. At some times, the sentence struct ...more
Sep 14, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
This author is a wordsmith! Could have been short stories but its all blended together in the telling. The passage of time was interesting. The story seems to be told by Luke in snippets of memories. Why does he refer to his parents by their first names? I'd be interested in future books that Mr. Henry writes. Oh, fave line is on page 81:
"And your sorrow and grief and your joys and pleasures too would teach you your lessons in a curriculum devised just precisely for you."
David. Luck
Apr 10, 2012 David. Luck rated it really liked it
This is a very rewarding read if you take the time to really read it. As others have attested, the phrasing can be difficult at times, but I found such craftsmanship in how author Henry could alter the meaning of a sentence, a paragraph, or a chapter, with just one significant word. Brilliant! I grew up in Wyoming, so the theme of work, weather, work, weather was very familiar to me and I felt very much at home in the story. When I finished the book, I wasn't finished, wanting more.
Short and lyrical novel about western Wyoming rancher who marries a back east lady, but then she dies tragically young. Most of pov from one the the orphaned sons. Author is also an song writer (too say the least, he’s written about a million “hits”) but this short novel seems to eschew most of the platitudes and clichés. And describes the damn cold coldness of Wyoming rather well too. Can be read in a few hours at most. ...more
West Hartford Public Library
Feb 09, 2016 West Hartford Public Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: martha
What a wonderful serendipity there is to finding a treasure you weren't expecting on the new book shelf at the library.

Lime Creek is a slim volume of related stories about the members of a Wyoming ranching family. Each story is a gem, written in poetic prose that speaks directly to the heart. Rather than reading them all at once, I found I wanted to let each one resonate and "settle" before moving on to the next.

Don't miss this one!
Sep 30, 2011 Joe rated it it was ok
I thought the first chapter was fantastic but then that run-on writing style started to grate on me and pretty soon I was skipping paragraphs and then entire pages just to get to the end because with such a wonderful first chapter you expect at some point the author will come up with a plot or at least start punctuating his never-ending sentences but sadly he doesn't.

There might be a good story here, but I was too irritated to find it.
Jul 13, 2011 Penny rated it liked it
The story takes place in Wyoming and tells of violent winters and short summers where the Davis family - Spencer, Elizabeth, Lonny, Whitney, and Luke- fight the elements to survive and farm. They seem to have an uncanny relationship with their animals - especially horses- and that's why I read the short book. My favorite part is the Christmas in the barn tradition with their neighbors.
Literary Princess
Spur Award short novel 2012 finalist (best short novel which features American West/frontier)
setting: Wyoming horse ranch
characters: dad, mom, 3 adult sons
1st person changing point of view; a bit stream-of-consciousness; jumps around in time
connected stories that convey challenges of lifestyle and of family
Jeanette Clark
Sep 07, 2015 Jeanette Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One vision of life

At first, I thought this book was outlining daily life in the country, old hat to me. Maybe different to city people. By the end, I was drinking in every word. Life on earth is a powerful storm, changing yet timeless, volatile yet connected. Wound through this like thin threads are the characters' (and our) lives with all their longings and frailties.
May 06, 2011 Amber rated it liked it
The author is a very talented poetic writer. I didn't care much for the story though. There was not even much of a story line. As far as description goes, I felt like the author knew what he was talking about. It seemed like he was speaking from experience when he described the setting. Not a memorable book, just ok.
Nov 13, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it
I rarely read a male author, so this was a different voice for me. This book had all the elements I enjoy in novels : rich and observant language, unusual style, emotion and experience that rings true. Devoid of filler sentences, this is a compact and worthy story about personal strength, integrity and knowing oneself.
Jun 29, 2011 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
"Lime Creek" is one of my current do-love books. It is written in an unfamiliar manner to me, but after the first page, I was hooked; I couldn't put it down. Even without quote marks (which often nag at me) I felt the story was easy to follow. I just plain was delighted with this book and the characters. It is a beautiful book. I look forward to further books from Joe Henry.
Mar 17, 2013 Bev rated it really liked it
In spite of the fact that this book is written without the traditional punctuation and so required close attention and re-reading, and in spite of a couple of isolated paragraphs where language would normally have been a deal breaker, I really, really liked this book. It is full of heart, beginning to end.
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“I suddenly saw how each life's joy and pain were made just exactly right for that life so that they fit that life perfectly like its own skin. And so no other body could possibly get in and try it on for itself because every other body had its own perfect skin too.

And the more you could stand the more you'd be given, so you were always filled right up to your own personal limit where one more drop, which you could count on, would push it over the edge. And so you would somehow have to find the way to contain it too, that one drop too many, and maybe just to see how much you could actually bear. And whether your capacity be a thimbleful or the whole damn ocean, the well of your precious collected humor be it tears today or your life's blood tomorrow will surely drown the fragile flame of your existence given the addition of that inevitable next drop. Unless you grow. Unless you become big enough to still hold it all.

And so like it or not, you would learn what you were given the breath of life to learn. You would learn what you unknowingly came here to learn. And your sorrow and grief and your joys and pleasures too would teach you your lessons in a curriculum devised just precisely for you.”
“Where something even deeper than the marrow knows that the cost of avoiding what one fears is even greater than the actual object of that fear and so the fear itself is even more corrosive even more destructive than all the frightening potential of the thing that arouses it.” 2 likes
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