Judy's Reviews > The Field of Vision

The Field of Vision by Wright Morris
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's review
Sep 07, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: 20th-century-fiction, books-from-1957
Recommended for: readers who want to get through all the NBA winners.
Read in February, 2010 , read count: 1


The National Book Award winner for 1957 was a challenging read. The entire story, such as it is, takes place during a bullfight in Mexico. I have yet to read a bullfight story I liked. Most of the book consists of flashbacks concerning the people involved in the life of a man names McKee. For the entire first half of it, I was not completely sure who anyone was.

Each character is a variation on eccentricity and most of them live in Omaha, Nebraska, though off the beaten path of mainstream American life. Some of them have sparks of being gifted, whether as an artist or a frontiersman, except for McKee himself who is a dud trying to make sense of all these oddballs.

The bullfight and arena (the field of vision) are meant to be symbolic. The theme seemed to me to be something about the banality of America. Wright Morris claims that he wrote the book to show that "the range and nature of the plains imagination...contains elements that are peculiarly American...There, mirrored in the bullring, a group of touring plainsmen see, for the first time, the drama of their tangled lives."

I am grateful he explained that on the jacket flap because otherwise I would have missed it. I did not enjoy reading this book.
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