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Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still
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Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  24 reviews
With crystalline prose that evokes with equal power the sweat of hard work and the complexity of human foibles, Kent Nelson's novel is destined to earn him many new fans. When Haney Remmel dies in an accident, he leaves to his wife Mattie an alfalfa farm in the plains of South Dakota and a devastating secret. Mattie must wrestle with both, deciding to keep the farm running ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 27th 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 2003)
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The setting is perhaps the most important "character" in this novel. The land, the water, the history. The land is southwest South Dakota, 4000 acres southeast of the Black Hills and west of Pine Ridge. The water is scarce, it has to be guarded from theft and coaxed into irrigating marginal land that maybe shouldn't be farmed anyway. The recent history involves the Lakota, Custer, Wounded Knee. The ancient history is found in the bones and fossils found in a sinkhole on the property.

Mattie and H
WOW. I wouldn't have picked this up if I hadn't read a review--in Book Magazine, which is gone now. A moment of sadness in its honor....

This is a book that fits in with Atticus and Plainsong and Mavis about strong, modern westerners. This follows Mattie and her life directly before and after the death of her husband, Haney. It also climbs inside the heads of her daughter and the "hired man" she hires who calls herself Dawn in this incarnation of self. With the addition of a runaway Indian boy,
I first saw this book when it was in hardback - I wanted to read it bad, but waited for paperback. Then it got shelved. Finally, what, 4 years later - I grabbed it off the shelf and dug in. Once past the first chapter or so, I was totally hooked. Mattie and her husband have a farm/ranch in S. Dakota. Unexpectedly her husband dies. Her daughter Shelley comes home from college for the summer and helps out. They hire Dawn to help fix things and kind of adopt a runaway Indian boy and together, they' ...more
Maggie Remmel, newly widowed when her husband dies in a farm accident, decides to try to keep running their farm in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Her college-aged daughter Shelley is the only help she has, until an adrift young woman named Dawn turns up, is able to repair a piece of farm machinery for Maggie, and convinces Maggie to hire her. Shortly after, a young teen Indian boy is seen around the farm, and Maggie leaves food for him. Gradually, she wins the boy’s confidence and takes him i ...more
d Kate dooley
This book has been on my shelf awhile. I read part of it long ago. When I started reading it this time, I thought I'd watched the opening in a movie. It's well written. I like Dawn, whose name isn't Dawn. Dawn who came form North Dakota, never having been there, and who wants to raise Buffalo, who chooses rocks as allies, who fixes machines, sleeps on the ground, and always fights back. She's a minor character.

I'll finish this one. I'm 3/4 of the way through it and to the point where I'm thinki

"Author made a risky move, with all of his main characters being female. I think that he proves that a man can write female parts and do it well. Book should appeal to a variety of readers, as the three female lead characters are all searching for meaning, on some level. It is not too heavy on the romance, but there are definitely romances. Also, some scenes with "bad guys" and a solid story on the difficulty of running a ranch. I did not want to put this book down, very well done"
I so enjoyed my time spent reading this novel. The author was so gifted with his ability to turn mere words into a vivid picture in my head. The story takes place on a 4000 acre ranch in current day South Dakota. A husband dies, his secret is discovered, and the remaining characters form a deep and unusually strong bond that gives each of them something to rely on when adversity strikes. Again, the writing was terrific.
This was an interesting book set in South Dakota as a woman discovers after her husband's untimely death that his life held major secrets. She manages with help to run their ranch, and develops relationships with some interesting people. I didn't like the manipulative bad guys thrown into the story or the ending tying up all most all of the relationship conflicts, etc.
I really enjoyed this book. It's the story of a woman and her daughter who are left behind to run a ranch in S.D. after husband/father dies in an accident. His well-hidden secret eventually comes out and has a profound effect on both mother and daughter. Interesting characters - both the mom and her daughter and their friends, neighbors, and hired staff.
Kyle Gutek
I have never read a novel as delicate and honest as this. Each character has similarities in that they're searching for something--love, acceptance, home, and one another. Nelson's elegant details pull the reader into cracked arroyos, sweeping plains, and open skies. Readers will have fallen in love with the land that moves by the final page.
Really expected something more dramatic to happen but it was a good read and shows how we can be as strong as we need to be and it always helps to have friends along the way.

When someone says "let me know how I can help" you really should consider taking them up on the offer.
I think my favorite part of this novel was the author's description of plains geography and rural living - the good along with the bad, and there was certainly plenty of both. There are lots of plot turns and sidebars, so my best advice is to expect the unexpected!
Zeke got me this for Christmas. He likes to pick out books for David and I for Christmas from used book sales. This one was a real winner. Thoroughly enjoyable read. I even recommended it for book club.
Someone else reviewed this as "tough ladies in the badlands trying to farm. written by a man" I'll add "and it shows that it was written by a man." Good premise but so-so on execution.
WOW. This book was great. It was like Anna Karenina's agriculture turned down a notch w/ some non-corny love stories. Loved it. I was pleasantly surprised.
I heard this book reviewed on NPR while driving home.
The clincher was, "If you only read one book this year, this is the book to read."
I loved it.
Laura Stenzel
Read this one for book club... Definitely enjoyed the language and the imagery... Still not sure how I feel about the characters themselves or the plot line.
This is a good story with characters that you can care about. The story moves at a good clip so the book never drags.
After her husband's accidental death, a woman must confront her demons while trying to reestablish a home and run a farm.
Jennifer Wilson
This is one of my favorite books from a Midwest author who didn't get nearly enough attention for it.
Unpleasant people doing unpleasant things and having unpleasant things done to them.
Loved this book. Had it in a box for years and finally read it.
Karen S
Read too close in time to Eventide. This paled by comparison.
A good read. Continuing my obsession with the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Benjamin Swanson
Benjamin Swanson marked it as to-read
Jan 03, 2015
Zoe marked it as to-read
Jan 02, 2015
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