A nice, old-fashioned look at the capriciousness of the universe, with love coming in to offer some sort of redemption. All the men in a French pastor...moreA nice, old-fashioned look at the capriciousness of the universe, with love coming in to offer some sort of redemption. All the men in a French pastoral village are wiped out by a sudden landslide in what seems to be the 1700s...all save one, it turns out, who crawls his way out of the rocks weeks later.
It's soon clear that he hasn't fully returned, though. Traumatized by his experience, he's drawn back to the rocks in a bid to rescue his fallen comrades. Even his neighbors aren't sure if he's a real man or perhaps a spirit from the mountains, as the more superstitious among them warn.
Ramuz captures the setting and people with a steady, poetic voice. Published in 1935, the book carries some of the slightly overblown style I associate with high school classics; there's a lot of striving toward the sublime. But it can also be earthy and direct, and on the whole, the story is straightforward and easy to read.
Ramuz's people here are simple shepherds, isolated from cosmopolitanism. He captures them as being uncomplicated without falling into the trap of making them as cloying or stupid. They're committed to their work and their faith, but they're not above a little gossip too.
The final section of the story is perhaps the strongest, as (view spoiler)[the returned man's newlywed wife climbs after him into the hills to rescue him with the news that he's going to be a father (hide spoiler)]. The fast resolution may be unrealistic--and unenduring--given his ordeal, but her steady commitment offers a noble closing message of hope.
Wonderful stories. Carver is masterful at capturing the voices--and choices--of normal people whose lives have started to sour. Some are more desperat...moreWonderful stories. Carver is masterful at capturing the voices--and choices--of normal people whose lives have started to sour. Some are more desperate than others, but all their circumstances are revealed with careful pacing and dignity. A Small, Good Thing is one of the best stories I've ever read, but they'll nearly all stick with you.(less)
Gore-soaked genius. McCarthy captures the southwestern landscape and a dark heart of human nature. There are brutal acts in this novel, but the author...moreGore-soaked genius. McCarthy captures the southwestern landscape and a dark heart of human nature. There are brutal acts in this novel, but the author lays them bare as he describes them. Some of the descriptions of desert roaming feel familiar by the end, but this is a challenging, rewarding book.
"When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf."
"When the kid returned to his own blanket the expriest leaned to him and hissed at his ear. Fool, he said. God will not love ye forever. The kid turned to look at him. Dont you know he'd of took you with him? He'd of took you, boy. Like a bride to the altar."
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent."(less)