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Homesman

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,093 ratings  ·  537 reviews
Au cœur des grandes plaines de l'Ouest, au milieu du XIXe siècle, Mary Bee Cuddy est une ancienne institutrice solitaire qui a appris à cultiver sa terre et à toujours laisser sa porte ouverte. Cette année-là, quatre femmes, brisées par l'hiver impitoyable et les conditions de vie extrêmes sur la Frontière, ont perdu la raison. Aux yeux de la communauté des colons, il n'y ...more
Paperback, 281 pages
Published May 5th 2014 by Gallmeister (first published March 6th 1988)
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Robert Belew The fact that this story made a hard left turn is what set it apart.
It's really difficult for author's to come up with a "twist" in a storyline which…more
The fact that this story made a hard left turn is what set it apart.
It's really difficult for author's to come up with a "twist" in a storyline which isn't predictable and somewhat expected. This was not expected, for me anyway and, kept this story moving and fresh. This book was written prior to 1988 and has floated up to it's recent popularity for some reason.(less)
John Freeman Because of its limited distribution, I was lucky to catch this at our local "art" theatre. I think this was a labor of love for Tommy Lee Jones, who…moreBecause of its limited distribution, I was lucky to catch this at our local "art" theatre. I think this was a labor of love for Tommy Lee Jones, who produced, directed, starred in, and helped with the screenwriting.

I wasn't aware this was a book when I saw the movie. Look forward to reading it.(less)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,093 ratings  ·  537 reviews


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Jim
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, western
I loves me a strong female protagonist, so when I saw Hilary Swank's strong performance as Mary Bee Cuddy in the movie The Homesman I knew I had to read the source material for the movie. The movie was a little disappointing in that Mary's workmate, Briggs, is played by Tommy Lee Jones, so you have a man in his late sixties playing a man who is just a touch on the wrong side of forty. Even so, it was obvious that this story came from the pen of a master and I wasted no time getting a copy of th ...more
Jessaka
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western, pioneer
“I stood outside the sod house looking around at the prairie. Who could ever live in this desolate place? I stepped down into the dark kitchen, a home with only one door and too few windows. Its walls had been plastered with old newsprint that had become yellowed and torn with age, its floor, dirt. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Brown had built this homestead in 1909. What was it like for them? I would have gone mad out here as some women, and even men, had. What was there to do other than sit in the kitchen’s ...more
Nicole~
4.5 stars
The Homesman
, Glendon Swarthout's award winning novel called the Best Western Novel of the year back in 1988, is a deeply moving tale, a riveting thriller and an American West adventure in the style reminiscent of Larry McMurtry. Swarthout is a gifted storyteller with a keen eye for detail, drawing an authentic narrative of the treacherous Great Plains; the harsh conditions and desolation pioneers encountered in the unforgiving frontier of the 1850's, that led to many cases of suicides
...more
Scott Axsom
Nov 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first outing with Glendon Swarthout, so I had no idea what I would be encountering. I did read a few of the reviews of The Homesman before I read the novel, though, and I was aware that Swarthout does something later in the book that really angered some readers. As such, I read it with a wary eye.

The well-told story is of a journey from homesteader Nebraska to Iowa during the 1850's. The purpose of the trip is to return to civilization four women who have been broken by the frontier l
...more
Cmv
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my very first review on Goodreads, I usually don't write them but this book rubbed me so much the wrong way I couldn't help but write one.
The book is very engaging and readable, thus the 2 stars. However, it is touted as an examination of pioneer life from the usually unheard voices of women (which is exactly why I was intrigued to read it in the first place) yet the author's portrayal of these woman seems to undo the very flattery he (supposedly) meant to give them. This book was clearl
...more
Cphe
This may be the saddest book I've read for a long while. No winners here and not your typical western novel. A story of shattered hopes and dreams, squalor and broken hearts.
A strongly depicted story but sad, very sad particularly for the women and their children.
Sarah Goodwin
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uh-merica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great story until the last 50 pages or so. I just felt so bereft at the end, and then like the end didn't make any sense. I just felt like there was part of the story missing.
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE HOMESMAN was a very moving and tragic novel set in Nebraska during pioneer times. Some of the pioneer women during this period suffered emotional and psychological breakdowns that were so severe, they had to be removed from the prairie and treated elsewhere. George Briggs is the no good drifter who helps a teacher spinster named Mary Cuddy transport a group of afflicted women across the plains for help. This is a great story of history, courage, compassion, and the human condition. A prevail ...more
Sarah
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What an odd and ultimately disappointing read this was. I was all set out to give The Homesman a good four star review for being a rather good romp until I reached the last third of the book. Until then I had really enjoyed Glendon Swarthout’s unusual Western. The language was perhaps perfunctory but it had some great characters and a compelling plot. Then it stopped being compelling. The Homesman went off on a strange tangent and I found myself not really caring how it was going to end. It was ...more
Patricia Burroughs
This is not exactly a review, rather, a strange connection for me.

Some years ago one of the producers on the film UNFORGIVEN read my western, liked it a lot, and said to me, "You know, as I was reading this, I thought, this is the writer who needs to adapt THE HOMESMAN for Paul Newman."

I read HOMESMAN and loved a lot of it--except for (no spoiler here, I'm restraining myself) how the female protagonist dealt with her loss near the end. And I knew, yes, I could write the hell out of this script
...more
Debra
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was intriguing enough that I read the book quickly, impatient to know what would happen next, the outcome of the characters, to reach the conclusion. It had great potential - the story of early pioneers and, particularly, the effect of that challenging and harsh life on women. Each of the characters was well introduced, indeed, the crisp writing provided strong imagery to connect with the times, place and people. Indeed, even after putting the book down, I care about the characters who ...more
Terri
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hadn't known about this 1988 novel, but happened across the newly reprinted paperback, presumably reissued in anticipation of an upcoming film version directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones. Reading it, I was immediately reminded of why, as a teenager, I had been so moved by another of Glendon Swarthout's efforts, "Bless the Beasts & Children." In the sparsest of prose, Swarthout conveys worlds of loss, misunderstood motivations, and unacknowledged emotions. He is a master of "show, don' ...more
Tracy
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of this book before but needed something to read for a flight so grabbed this at the airport. It was written several years ago, but the movie is coming out soon, hence its presence on the airport bookshelves. I had recently read another book about a homesteader (Hattie Big Sky) which I enjoyed so I thought this would be interesting to me. This story is about a homesteading woman (an ex-school teacher and "spinster") who volunteers to take 4 women who have each had a mental brea ...more
Therese
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very well written story about the hard life faced by the pioneers on the frontier. After an especially tough winter and physically and emotionally debilitating circumstances, four wives lose their minds. In the absence of any local insane asylums, it's agreed that the women would be taken by wagon to a town in Iowa, where a local church group would ensure they were reunited with their kin in their hometowns. A strong, single woman living on the frontier agrees to be the homesman and escort the ...more
Kim
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
5 stars because I read it over 36 hours, couldn't put it down, and now I can't stop thinking about it. Quite possibly the most depressing and frustrating story I've read in a long time, and some of the basic principles - as well as the resolution of the story - make me angry and sad. If I was in a book group, I'd strongly suggest this as a read.
Joshua Gross
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jean
This is a different type of western tale. The story deals with the problems of mental illness in the western frontier of the 1870’s. Mental illness and severe depression was a major problem on the prairies in the 1800s much of it was blamed on the isolation suffered by the women for long periods of time.

In this story the author tells the tale of women living in sod huts during a severe winter with brutish husbands who treat them like beasts of burden, with children who die wholesale from diphthe
...more
Melissa Crytzer Fry
***3.5 stars ***

I have a confession: while I enjoyed this book, I am more looking forward to the upcoming movie that stars Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank. Why? My 3.5-star rating really relates to my preference in writing style. I’m a fan of challenging sentences, dripping with imagery and metaphor.

But if you’re looking for a book that is a quick, easy read (despite heavy topics – ones that I admit brought tears to my eyes multiple times), this is a fabulous book. In fact, I’ll be discussing
...more
Carol Kowalski
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The westward expansion into the American frontier meant for harrowing condition for families. When a handful of female pioneers lose their minds, a homesman is needed to return them back east to the care of relatives. In Swarthout's book, the regular homesman is unavailable, so a ne'er-do-well claim jumper is ordered to undertake the task under the watchful eye of a local woman who lives alone on the prairie. Paul Newman had signed on when the book was to be turned into a movie, but the film was ...more
Jessica McDermitt
Can you break all the unspoken rules and still tell a great story?

Apparently so.

This book was absolutely heartbreaking. All these women being pulled away from their families--hysterics would have ruined the effect. The quiet, despairing reactions hurt so much. Mary Bee Cuddy was a truly strong protagonist, able to do everything a man could and more, sometimes, but still wracked with insecurities and fears.

Then, plot twist!

I never saw it coming. You'll have to read the book to find out what it i
...more
Sam Sattler
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glendon Swarthout is best known for his western classic “The Shootist,” a novel that eventually became actor John Wayne’s last film. But now that Swarthout’s equally powerful western, “The Homesman,” is being filmed (and directed by Tommy Lee Jones), this 1988 novel is being given new life – thankfully so, because I missed it the first time around.

“The Homesman” explores an aspect of American western migratory history that is seldom considered: what happened to those 1850s settlers who suffered
...more
Ann
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa-1800-s
How long has it been since I have read a Western? Probably not since Lonesome Dove. This book has sat on my shelf for a very long time, and am so glad that I finally picked it up. It is very much a western, since it is set in the Dakotas at the time that area was still "the Territory", and of course there are the things that come with that setting: cold, sod houses, lack of food, fear of Indians, etc. However, what makes this little novel so wonderful is that it deals with the souls and psyches ...more
gaudeo
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scout
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this novel. It's really 4 1/2 stars for me. If you're not a fan of Westerns, that's OK. This novel is set in the American West in the 1850s, but that's the only thing that makes it a Western. It's about people - their relationships, strengths, struggles, and breaking points. Read a few pages, and you'll want to read the rest. Expect the unexpected.
John
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned of this author from an issue of a cowboy magazine. This is the only e-book I could find and it blew me away. Much like Cormac McCarthy. Sparse. Gritty. Real. I'll read all hard copy Swarthouts I can find when we get home.
J.R. Wright
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the better books I've read and I've read thousands. Give it a try-you'll like it.
Owen Townend
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will hold my hands up now and admit that I saw the film before reading the book. I found the film very moving and, at the halfway point, suddenly tragic.

I am now happy to report that the film plot I enjoyed did not stray far from the original novel. Indeed reading Swarthout's crystal clear prose and his neat and timely exposition of such period-specific concepts as Claim Jumping and Paper Towns, added an extra dimension to the story I had already seen.

However the one thing the novel did best w
...more
Cathryn
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m deviating from my usual read the book first position. Watched The Homesman with Tommy Lee Jones on Netflix, then discovered it was a book. I’m glad I saw the movie first, so I could picture it accurately while reading the book which elaborated in the best parts and more.
Cara
Nov 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book totally caught me off guard. I choose to read it because I saw it was being made in to a movie. Starting at the last fourth of the book I was thrown totally off guard. The ending is a tad strange but the characters were great.
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film vs book 3 12 Nov 26, 2017 11:55AM  

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Glendon Fred Swarthout was an American writer. Some of his best known novels were made into films of the same title, Where the Boys Are, The Shootist and They Came To Cordura.

Also wrote under Glendon Fred Swarthout. Twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glendon_...
“The weather wouldn't settle down. It would rain cats and dogs, then stop, then drip awhile, then stop while it made up its mind what to do next.” 4 likes
“You shut your door to these poor women," he said so they could hear him, "and you'll answer for it the rest of your lives. You won't sleep. You'll choke on drinks. The food you eat'll block up your bowels and you'll die of your own shit.” 3 likes
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