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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  261 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Winner of the New England Book Award, Howard Frank Mosher’s endearing first novel is both a heroic adventure and a thrilling coming-of-age story. It is the memorable tale of a young man named Wild Bill Bonhomme, his larger-than-life father, Quebec Bill, and their whiskey-smuggling exploits along the Vermont-Canada border in 1932. On an epic journey through the wilderness,
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 29th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1984)
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A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonHoudini Heart by Ki LongfellowRobert Frost's Poems by Robert FrostHouse Rules by Jodi PicoultCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Books Set in Vermont
23rd out of 67 books — 46 voters
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New England Books
129th out of 421 books — 216 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 413)
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Oct 04, 2009 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Tom Jamrog
There are people in my life, and in my family, who act this way. Maybe you have them too - they a re a bit crazy, but just charming enogh to hornswoggle you into doing something which you either laugh about together forever; or - - - -

anyway, having lived in Northern New England for close to thirty years, and having tried to explain it to people, I can tlel you that this writer has got it down. I could smell the wind of a Northern New England spring when I read this.....
After a slow start, this coming of age tall tale, set in a remote part of New England during the depression, grabbed my attention. I was unable to put the book down until the end. Too absurd at times to appreciate, nevertheless I found that Mosher crafted memorable settings, unforgettable characters, and an exciting adventure that is both horrible and hilarious.
Mosher, Howard Frank. DISAPPEARANCES. (1977). **1/2. This was this author’s first book. He has since gone on to write several more. The story is a fabulous adventure tale – wholly incredible in parts – of a young man named Wild Bill Bonhomme, and his larger than life father, Quebec Bill. Quebec Bill is a short man – just over five feet tall – from a mixed Canadian-American-French heritage. He is forever laughing at everything; good times, bad times, or no times at all. His body must be 90% pickl ...more
Holy crap, I finished it. Okay, not a big deal to people out there in cyberland, but understand it took, and this is a total guess, nearly three years to finish this book. In contemporary literature, Mosher ranks near the top for me as I might say in my reviews for all his books. This one, if I could fractionalize it, was top-quality for perhaps 3/5 of the story. The fourth fifth seemed to be written while on some sort of little orange barrel-shaped pill. Mosher lost me. It spiraled into a super ...more
This is a classic adventure type of tale about a boy and his father. Quebec Bill Bonhomme is an eccentric man who lives life somewhat recklessly. He calls his son Wild Bill but the boy is the complete opposite of his name. In an effort to save the family farm, the father, son, and an uncle set out to run some whiskey. They meet some people at a convalescent home, monks, and some very dangerous whiskey runners. All sorts of mayhem ensues and just when you think the group is out of the woods, anot ...more
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Joseph Dorris
Quite a tall tale. If you are looking for truth, it must be feretted out; yet, reading this story, one cannot help but pick up a sense of time and place and a reality. I appreciated the description of real life in these times. Maybe Mr. Mosher did not believe the truth could be accepted and by masking it in exageration and humor the reader would be more likely to read the tale. He would have succeded in either venue, but I must admit, I appreciated this tale very much.
Brian Grover
It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that this is a tall tale, and the events shouldn't be taken as 100 percent literal. Once I did, I was able to just relax and love this book. I'm fairly certain that the only instance of me shedding actual tears in 2012 was when I read the passage here that recounts the final talk between the father and the son around the campfire near the end.
I'd give it a 3.5. I would love to read more of his work. I loved the characters and much of the story line, but I was thrown a bit when the story I expected after reading the first 1/3 of the book - a funny, relateable (in a crazy kind of way) coming-of-age story - was derailed by a Stephen King-ish twist that seemed almost out of place. Perhaps it requires a second read.
Elizabeth Young
An absolutely fabulous read. While many of the characters are bigger than life, the story is believeable. Funny, scary, hair-raising and also a tender tale of the relationship of a father and son. If you know Vermont at all -- or if you don't but can imagine it -- you will enjoy this book. It's memory lingers and warms me every time I think of it.
Joanne in Canada
Feb 20, 2012 Joanne in Canada rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joanne by: BOTNS
Initially, this tall tale was amusing and entertaining--over-the-top hijinks or whiskey runners in northern Vermont and across the Canadian border, but after about 2/3 of the book, it wore thin. Inebriated monks, backwoods criminals with cannons, ridiculous feats of strength and endurance.
Good story of a young boy and his incredible larger than life father, Quebec Bill, who sets out to smuggle Canadian liquor into Prohibition-Era Vermont. I read this while vacationing in Vermont in the area where t took place. Magical and unforgettable characters. Made into a Major motion picture.
Tad Crawford
I loved this book. It's truly generous in the largeness of its characters, a presence of nature that's palpable throughout, a willingness to risk, and a marvelous recounting of a father-son relationship in the context of journeys on water that made me think of Homer.
Wow, this isn't usually the kind of book I read but it was very interesting. Definitely one of the "I can't put the book down" type of books.
I loved all of the character's, you really feel like you get to know them.
Thank you to Scotty for having me read it.
I love Mosher, but I didn't think this up to his later novels. It was just a bit too fantastic, and the action aspects are not what he does best. Read his later books first, and come back to this for a little action story.
Feb 23, 2007 Russ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Armchair adventurers
Just as described on the front cover, this is an exciting tall tale for adults. If there's anything more thrilling than whiskey running and crazy characters, I'd like to know.
This book has some side-splittingly funny scenes, but overall is a nicely written novel about a father and son in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.
Vermont author

The ideas behind the story line were really interesting... but the way it was written did not grab my attention at all! Shame.
Oh my, just wonderful! This will sound crazy perhaps, but it's wonderful like Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon" was wonderful for me.
I liked this book
The wild and crazy things they do keeps you guessing with a smile on your face.
but a sad ending
I am a fan and he didn't disappoint. Colorful, provocative,larger than life characters....can't wait to rent the movie.
Olga Morrill
Quebec Bill kinda stretches credibility with his antics, but it's fun to read about an area that one is familiar with.
Wild, crazy folklorish adventure that requires some major suspension of disbelief. Good, though.
it was very exciting, but i didn't like the characters nearly as much as in northern borders.
the greatest father and son adventure ever written from the greatest vermont writer.
What a great yarn of a story.
Mar 13, 2008 Pam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
03/13/08 rec via bookmooch
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Born in 1943. Literature prize from American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, 1981; fiction fellowship from National Endowment for the Arts; Guggenheim fellow; New England Book Award, 1991; Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Vermont Arts Council, 2005.

Over the course of his writing career, Mosher has developed a reputation as a respected commentator on the often overlooked
More about Howard Frank Mosher...
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