Susan's Reviews > The Ox-Bow Incident

The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
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's review
Jul 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction
Read in July, 2011

I can see why this is considered a classic. It's clearly a western -- set in the west, it has cowpokes, rustlers, and vigilante justice. But it's also much more than that. The lynching that you know is going to happen if you've read even a minimal review of the book actually comes rather late in the story, and it's the lead-up to it that establishes the complexity of the situation and of the individuals trapped in it. Each brings his own individual personality to what happens, and each is affected differently by the aftermath. The tough philosophical questions Clark wants to raise come through the mouths of the some of the characters, and the reader isn't able to escape them any more than the players in the tragedy are.

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