Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Atticus” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,110 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
After receiving word that his artist son has committed suicide, Colorado rancher Atticus Cody makes a painful journey to Mexico to recover the body, but baffled by what he finds, he soon begins to suspect that his son has been murdered.
Hardcover, Large Print
Published July 1st 1996 by Thorndike Press (first published February 1st 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Atticus, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Atticus

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 29, 2013 Melki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You two are so interesting. You're the formidable figure he idolized and struggled not to become, and he's who you'd be if you didn't have all your good habits and rules and boundaries."

Ah, the complex relationships between fathers and sons. It seems that one is forever on trial and the other is forever the judge. The trick is to somehow meet outside the courtroom.

When Atticus Cody travels to Mexico to claim the body of his son, he becomes convinced that it was a case of murder and not suicide.
Atticus is both the book’s title and the name of the main character. Given the name’s connection to a famous novel, we are supposed to associate the ideal father in To Kill a Mockingbird with this father of two grown sons. Atticus is the modern day retelling of one of Jesus’ most beloved parables, The Prodigal Son, or as it is known in some circles today, The Loving Father. The focus of the first title being on the sins of younger son, whereas by changing the title the locus of the story shifts ...more
Aug 29, 2007 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book followed all the Ten Commandments of Good Writing:

1. Thou shalt not take the crisis out of the protagonist's hands.
2. Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonists.
3. Thou shalt not give exposition for exposition's sake -- dramatize it.
4. Thou shalt not use false mystery or cheap surprise.
5. Thou shalt respect thy audience.
6. Thou shalt know thy world as God knows this one.
7. Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better.
8. Thou shalt seek the end of the line, taking charact
Jan 29, 2014 Evan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hansen is a fine writer. "Atticus," for all the acclaim it received, is not among his best books, likely because it crosses genres between a character study that is classic literary fiction, a mystery, and a warm-and-fuzzy heartlifter. There is no arguing the quality of the writing: Hansen strings words together as well as anyone writing fiction today, and he's able to draw his pictures effectively by implication rather that explication. Yet, by the end, I found myself indifferent to the title c ...more
Sep 11, 2009 Mick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I recently became a Ron Hansen fan after reading his historical novel The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, one of the best reads I've enjoyed in years. I fell in love with Hansen's simplistic, descriptive style--by his colorful reliance on similes that makes the reader smile with recognition. So with great anticipation I began Hansen's novel ATTICUS, a story about 67-year-old Atticus Cody, a quiet, unassuming Colorado rancher with a problematic prodigal son. When Atticus r ...more
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: Ron Hansen’s new novel opens in winter [in] Colorado, where rancher Atticus Cody receives an unexpected visit from his wayward young son. An artist and wanderer, Scott has recently settled into a life of heavy drinking and recklessness among expatriates and Mexicans in the little town of Resurreccion on the Caribbean coast. Weeks later, Atticus himself goes down to Mexico to recover the body of his son, thinking he has committed suicide. Puzzled by what he finds, he begins ...more
Stuart Drake
Jan 15, 2008 Stuart Drake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very surprised with this book. The author writes in a compelling and expressive manner that allows the reader to paint a vivid picture in his/her mind throughout the entire story. This book was easy-to-read and offerred powerful insights into the depths familial love. Plus, the ending was incredible and further developed the characters from a different perspective. I truly enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the trials and tribulations of a f ...more
Mr. D
Feb 21, 2008 Mr. D rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atticus Cody, the eponymous hero of this book by Ron Hansen is a retired Colorado businessman who has been as successful as his son Scott has been a failure. Despite the dissapointments and disasters Scott has caused for his father, Atticus is nonetheless devestated when he learns one day his son is dead. A suicide, they say. But when he travels to the Mexican town of Resureccion, where Scott had lived, he quickly begins to suspect that Scott was in fact murdered. In an expression of fatherly lo ...more
Nov 24, 2011 Raelyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atticus Cody is a Colorado rancher who lives a simple life caring for his animals. He is a widower and father of two sons, both adult, and so lives alone. One day he gets a message from Resurrección, Mexico that his youngest son Scott has committed suicide; he then travels to Mexico to retrieve the body. When he arrives he is greeted by Renata, Scott’s on and off love interest, and starts to uncover incoherent details. After a little digging, Atticus suspects that his son was murdered, and sets ...more
Apr 13, 2014 Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atticus Cody is a 67-year-old Colorado rancher who had his first name to himself until "To Kill A Mockingbird" was published in the 60s.

When he receives a call that his troubled younger son has committed suicide, he goes to Mexico to pick up the pieces. But the longer he spends there, the more convinced he becomes that his son was murdered.

This National Book Award finalist is a wonderful novel of father and sons, love and loss, and guilt and redemption.

Ron Hansen writes like a painter, capturing
Jonathan Schildbach
This was my first exposure to Hansen, and it was a bit frustrating. For roughly the first two-thirds of the book I was enthralled with the main character and wondering where everything would end up. But there comes a time when a major plot point is revealed and the book becomes "monologuing" by another character as the mystery and confusion is all laid out and mopped up. Hansen's writing can be very dense, and at times it becomes a bit too clever for itself. Overall, though, Hansen creates such ...more
Jean Hoefling
Oct 03, 2016 Jean Hoefling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Ron Hansen book, and now I'm sure I'm hooked. Atticus had been recommended as a novel loaded with superb imagery, and I wasn't disappointed. And even more, this is a story full of wonderful, believable characters who are like all of us. It is the tale of the Prodigal Son told in a way that absolutely honors the heart of Christ's most famous parable.
Oct 14, 2010 marymurtz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Terrific writing, and a great story. The character development was stellar. Hansen's writing reminded me a little of Kent Haruf's, but more stripped down. I am looking up his other works so I can read them. What a great book!
Terry Southard
Sep 28, 2014 Terry Southard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this book. Love Ron Hansen.

This is a retelling of the Prodigal Son parable, brought up to modern day. His writing is spare and beautiful. Worth the read. Will be recommending it to my book club for next year.
Oct 09, 2011 Sherri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply moving. I was a little dissatisfied with a lack of justice for certain crimes committed, but that's one of the difficulties of issuing grace freely in this old broken world.
Mar 28, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book, favorites
I just reread this book. It was well written, spare and it had a particular resonance for me. It reminded me of Plainsong by Kent Haruf...another favorite novel of mine.
Jan 08, 2017 Jean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Parts of this novel I REALLY liked, but parts were just ok. Lest my goodreads friends pick it up at as "really liked," I'm just giving it 3 stars.
This story really drew me in. Loved the lessons taught about fatherly love.
Mar 15, 2017 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

I'm a big fan of Ron Hansen. I think he's one of our best novelists but doesn't get quite the attention of, say, Cormac McCarthy.

This is a very interesting book. It's a mystery, kind of. A father suspects his son has been murdered and tries to figure out what happened. But it's much more about love and faith, the inner lives of these characters. The beautiful descriptions of the world that Hansen works in. There's redemption and taking responsibility for oneself in here, and sadness at
Apr 04, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, hansen-ron
Hansen, Ron. Atticus: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. 247 pages.

Ron Hansen 1947—

Just when we thought that we would not see any more great American novels, Ron Hansen has given us, not only Mariette in Ecstasy but, far more to my liking, Atticus. Hansen has created a “sundog” with this fine novel.

Hansen paints his characters with words as the lead character, Scott Cody, paints with brush and canvas. Impressions. He daubs his canvas with an attitude, a gesture, a scene that smells, tastes,
Janet Clark
Dec 23, 2016 Janet Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clever murder mystery the likes of which I used to read years ago. Amazing detail, gripping plot and straightforward writing. Especially loved that Atticus was such an honorable protagonist and demonstrated the amazing ability few parents have for loving their children---yet demonstrating, the courage, the curiosity, to learn all the details.
Oct 19, 2013 Debra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My students selected this book for one of their lit circle books and I hadn't read it (based on a librarian's recommendation who I am friends with) so I had to read it fast! I am not familiar with Hansen's work and found myself underlining sentences and phrases as applicable to this old person's life.

The book starts with a sun dog and interestingly yesterday afternoon we had the brightest one I had ever seen for the longest duration just as I was on the downward side of completing this book--em
A review from Keep Calm and Read On...

We all know Atticus to be the name of everyone's favorite literary father, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. But Atticus is also the name of the title character in the novel by Ron Hansen. Atticus is about a man named Atticus Cody whose son Scott has committed suicide. Atticus must travel from Colorado to Mexico where his son lived and try to retrieve his dead son's body but when he arrives he suspects murder.
This is the third book I have read by Ron
Melissa Palacios
Ron Hansen's book Atticus, has an interesting story plot. It is mainly about a harsh father son relationship with a twist in the plot. Atticus's son is accused of committing suicide. However, Atticus does not believe his son would do that no matter how troubled he was. The book is mainly set on Atticus's journey in Mexico while he tries to unravel the mystery of his sons death. Even though Hansen's idea's are clever I do not like the way he presents them. At first I was very hooked on the story. ...more
Nov 03, 2011 Jeannette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Glap! What does that mean? This book was a failed cake. I forced myself to finish this book so I could evaluate my rating system in giving it a solid 1. That means I read it, listened to his words, swallowed hard at the repetitions, the maudlin bits, the angst, the self centeredness, the sad and grueling bits about Dad and the siblings, and most of all, the endless extolling of the virtues of the dog and their relationship. For relief, or frosting on this overcooked cake, just a bit here and the ...more
Mar 22, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Creating a satisfying depth and present-day application to the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke Chapter 15, Hansen has formed the 'perfect father'. Like Atticus in to Kill a Mockingbird, Hansen's Atticus is a reasonable, humble, patient figure - one who we cannot help but admire: An embodiment of christian ideals. Yet he is approachable, believable - a figure we relate to as parents.

The character, Atticus, draws our attention to an important element of the prodigal son parable. Whereas some
Dec 31, 2007 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for years. I bought it on a whim at a used book store because it was written by Ron Hansen, one of the few professors in the English Department of Santa Clara University that I had never taken a class from. After reading the book, of course, I wish I had been in one of his classes. The first paragraph of the book hooked me with it's poetic, precise language. Listen: "Weeds and sage were yellow against the snow and the snow strayed over the geography as thou ...more
Apr 07, 2010 DROPPING OUT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Atticus Cody, a well-to-do sixty-seven year old Colorado rancher (with oil wells on his property) has two sons: Frank lives in the area with his wife and children and is a representative in the state legislature, a mover-and-shaker; Scott is a wastrel, a sot living on a trust fund, trying to be an artist while living in a self-imposed exile in Mexico. Scott commits suicide, and Atticus flies down to Mexico. Before and after the funeral things do not seem right to Atticus, and with a little diggi ...more
Jun 10, 2009 Marni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not do this book justice at all. I started it, went away for two weeks, came back and picked it up happily again, and then needed to read another book for book club....before I finished it. And I think that had I read it uninterruptedly, I would have enjoyed it more.

But I still liked this book a lot, because of the writing style I think. The plot is interesting, with some unexpected twists and turns, and that kept me on my feet. At one point, it changes narrators rather suddenly, which I f
Nov 19, 2013 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite good writing, depressing subject, I could only muster a "like."

The story follows a tough old Colorado rancher who must travel to Mexico to retrieve the body of his youngest grown son, who has apparently committed suicide. In the course of his gathering belongings, understanding the son's life of semi-exile, he grasps that "suicide" is not accurate.

The story is about human relationships - father to son, nearly a prodigal son storyline lurking in the background. Atticus, the main character,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Atticus / Ron Hansen - 4**** 4 7 Apr 24, 2016 11:05AM  
  • Mr. Blue
  • The Old Testament (Great Courses, #653)
  • Many Dimensions
  • The D. Case or The Truth About The Mystery Of Edwin Drood
  • The Mandelbaum Gate
  • The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria
  • Ancestral Shadows: An Anthology of Ghostly Tales
  • The Shoes of the Fisherman
  • The God Stealer and Other Stories
  • The Music Lesson
  • Frog
  • A Sudden Country
  • Crossers
  • The Death of a Pope
  • The Diary of a Country Priest
  • North of Hope
  • Our Kind
  • The Ordinary Seaman
Hansen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, attended a Jesuit high school, Creighton Preparatory School and earned a Bachelor's degree in English from Creighton University in Omaha in 1970. Following military service, he earned an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974 and held a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship at Stanford University. He later earned an M.A. in Spirituality from Santa ...more
More about Ron Hansen...

Share This Book