Bonnie Brody's Reviews > Five Skies

Five Skies by Ron Carlson
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's review
Feb 22, 2012

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This book is definitely a man's book. As a woman I felt lost at times with all the references to machinery, building and construction sites. The primary characters are men and they share a summer together in rural Idaho building a ramp for a stunt jumper.

Darwin Gallegos is the foreman for the job. He serendipitously hires Ronnie Panelli and Arthur Key off the street in Pocatello, Idaho and finds out that Arthur is a great engineer with a history of building sets in Hollywood for major film companies. Ronnie is a kid, about 20 years old, with a history of thievery, who is trying to become a man. Darwin is reeling from the recent death of his wife. Arthur is running from his brother's death for which he feels responsible. He also had been having an affair with his brother's wife when his brother died.

These three men gradually learn one another's histories as they spend the summer together and work long days and spend evenings by the campfire. The talk is mens' talk, about things male and often foreign to women. Carlson is a good writer but it was hard to relate to the book's content. I intend to try his short stories for which he is well-known but I think I will pass up his other novels.

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