South of the Big Four
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South of the Big Four

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Set in contemporary farm country of north central Indiana, just south of the Big Four railroad tracks, this extraordinary first novel tells the story of thirty-year-old Arthur Conason and his return to his family's abandoned farmhouse. The land is now farmed by the indomitable Gerry Maars, who immediately takes Arthur on as his hired man. Physically strong and emotionally...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published August 1st 1996 by Avon Books (first published June 1st 1995)
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The best novel ever written about Midwestern farm life. There simply is nothing better.
Wow, what a character. at first I am liking him, then unsure of him, then liking him again, then surprised by him, then confused about was a fantastic book, the writer has a wonderful way of getting you to know this man at an incredible level. Arthur is so simple, and yet complex and comfortable as your favorite blanket. His friendship to his boss is nothing short of the true meaning OF friendship, I fell in love with each and every character. great job Mr. Kurtz, great job.
Set in the farmland of north central Indiana "South of the Big Four" tells the story of Haskell County, the farm people who live and work the land and their struggle to make a go of a disappearing way of life. The plot centers around a young farmhand named Arthur who returns from working the iron ore barges on the Great Lakes to take up planting and harvesting work as hired man for the County's most prosperous, but fading, grower and local politician Gerry Marrs. This is a well written story wit...more
Well-written character study of a young man who returns home to the family farm and the people and memories he left behind. We are at times charmed and confused by Arthur's actions or lack thereof. We see his love affair with the hardships of farming and his workaholic boss, Gerry Maars. At times it seems he is incapable of forming a lasting relationship, but it is the one with Gerry that remains a constant as he drifts through questionable love affairs without thought of the consequences. An in...more
A very slow starting book. But after awhile, I enjoyed the planting of soybeans and corn,.the weather that controls it (snow, heat) and the cost and upkeep of the trucks and combines, and the ability to change with the times as productivity and efficiency increases
with better machines. A good human interest story too: brother against brother, the lure of love and sex, old timers vs the young whippersnappers, and the incredible cost to those who farm a sometimes unforgivable land.
Book about life on the farm. Main character could be exasperating at times and kind of a jerk, but all in all, good read. At times, it did drag on and it kind of left me feeling "what happens next", but I did enjoy reading about a very different lifestyle than what I have.
Marcleitson Leitson
Thoughtful characterization and tales of trying to farm with dignity.
Jul 28, 2011 Jen added it
Years after reading this book, I recall it's simple elegance.
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