Sue Cauhape's Reviews > Riders of the Purple Sage

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
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Jan 28, 11


The edition of Riders of the Purple Sage that I read was a printing of the original manuscript that was published in 2006 by Leisure Historical Fiction. Jon Tuska worked with Grey's grandson to bring this original manuscript to the light of day.

It is beautiful in its descriptions of the country and the pathos of the characters. This is the version that Grey wanted to be published but was not; instead his manuscript was heavily cut and edited to the tastes of the editor. When Grey received his proof copy of this, it is said that he wept for what was lost.

As I cozied into this novel, I felt deeply the dilema of the Mormon woman who was being slowly forced to capitulate to a greedy and powerful bishop. The real delight for me, though, was the landscape -- the true main character of this novel. The rich purple of the sage at dusk, the dust raised by galloping hoofs, the mysterious hidden valley that eventually became the home of two of the characters, and finally that echoing crash of the massive boulder that sealed these two in their valley forever. As I think of that episode now, it reminds me of the Mormon marriage ideal of celestial marriage, where a man and woman are sealed for time and all eternity within the protective confines of the Church. How like a prison that could be; or, as in the case of the couple in the novel, how like a paradise rediscovered.
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