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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,348 ratings  ·  172 reviews
Colorado rancher Atticus Cody receives word that his wayward younger son, Scott, has committed suicide in Resurrection, Mexico. When Atticus travels south to recover Scott's body, he is puzzled by what he finds there and begins to suspect murder. Illuminating those often obscure chambers of the human heart, Atticus is the story of a father's steadfast and almost ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 16th 1997 by Harper Perennial (first published February 1st 1996)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,348 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
"You two are so interesting. You're the formidable figure he idolized and struggled not to become, and he's who you'd be if you didn't have all your good habits and rules and boundaries."

Ah, the complex relationships between fathers and sons. It seems that one is forever on trial and the other is forever the judge. The trick is to somehow meet outside the courtroom.

When Atticus Cody travels to Mexico to claim the body of his son, he becomes convinced that it was a case of murder and not suicide.
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Atticus is both the book’s title and the name of the main character. Given the name’s connection to a famous novel, we are supposed to associate the ideal father in To Kill a Mockingbird with this father of two grown sons. Atticus is the modern day retelling of one of Jesus’ most beloved parables, The Prodigal Son, or as it is known in some circles today, The Loving Father. The focus of the first title being on the sins of younger son, whereas by changing the title the locus of the story shifts ...more
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book followed all the Ten Commandments of Good Writing:

1. Thou shalt not take the crisis out of the protagonist's hands.
2. Thou shalt not make life easy for the protagonists.
3. Thou shalt not give exposition for exposition's sake -- dramatize it.
4. Thou shalt not use false mystery or cheap surprise.
5. Thou shalt respect thy audience.
6. Thou shalt know thy world as God knows this one.
7. Thou shalt not complicate when complexity is better.
8. Thou shalt seek the end of the line, taking
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Hansen is a fine writer. "Atticus," for all the acclaim it received, is not among his best books, likely because it crosses genres between a character study that is classic literary fiction, a mystery, and a warm-and-fuzzy heartlifter. There is no arguing the quality of the writing: Hansen strings words together as well as anyone writing fiction today, and he's able to draw his pictures effectively by implication rather that explication. Yet, by the end, I found myself indifferent to the title ...more
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
I recently became a Ron Hansen fan after reading his historical novel The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, one of the best reads I've enjoyed in years. I fell in love with Hansen's simplistic, descriptive style--by his colorful reliance on similes that makes the reader smile with recognition. So with great anticipation I began Hansen's novel ATTICUS, a story about 67-year-old Atticus Cody, a quiet, unassuming Colorado rancher with a problematic prodigal son. When Atticus ...more
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: Ron Hansen’s new novel opens in winter [in] Colorado, where rancher Atticus Cody receives an unexpected visit from his wayward young son. An artist and wanderer, Scott has recently settled into a life of heavy drinking and recklessness among expatriates and Mexicans in the little town of Resurreccion on the Caribbean coast. Weeks later, Atticus himself goes down to Mexico to recover the body of his son, thinking he has committed suicide. Puzzled by what he finds, he begins ...more
Stuart Drake
Jan 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was very surprised with this book. The author writes in a compelling and expressive manner that allows the reader to paint a vivid picture in his/her mind throughout the entire story. This book was easy-to-read and offerred powerful insights into the depths familial love. Plus, the ending was incredible and further developed the characters from a different perspective. I truly enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the trials and tribulations of a ...more
Angela Greene
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a compelling tale of the prodigal son and the constancy of parental love. The conservative, religious culture of the heartland is sensitively portrayed in the character of Atticus. In these divided times, it is important to look beyond stereotypes and see the good in people that we think are very different from us. This book was written in 1996 and is the first book by Ron Hansen that I've read. A friend recommended Mariette in Ecstacy and I decided to try one of Ron Hansen's other books ...more
Jerry Peace
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book needs to be read for the pure beauty of Hansen's writing. Now you can read it for lots of reasons I guess-family, tragedy, the West, Mexico, drunks, art. But the best reason is the writing. Hands down.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hansen rides the "genre vs. literary" edge well, if a little tilted toward literary. I was pleasantly surprised by the Gospel overtones at the end.
Mr. D
Feb 21, 2008 rated it liked it
Atticus Cody, the eponymous hero of this book by Ron Hansen is a retired Colorado businessman who has been as successful as his son Scott has been a failure. Despite the dissapointments and disasters Scott has caused for his father, Atticus is nonetheless devestated when he learns one day his son is dead. A suicide, they say. But when he travels to the Mexican town of Resureccion, where Scott had lived, he quickly begins to suspect that Scott was in fact murdered. In an expression of fatherly ...more
Nov 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Atticus Cody is a Colorado rancher who lives a simple life caring for his animals. He is a widower and father of two sons, both adult, and so lives alone. One day he gets a message from Resurrección, Mexico that his youngest son Scott has committed suicide; he then travels to Mexico to retrieve the body. When he arrives he is greeted by Renata, Scott’s on and off love interest, and starts to uncover incoherent details. After a little digging, Atticus suspects that his son was murdered, and sets ...more
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Atticus Cody is a 67-year-old Colorado rancher who had his first name to himself until "To Kill A Mockingbird" was published in the 60s.

When he receives a call that his troubled younger son has committed suicide, he goes to Mexico to pick up the pieces. But the longer he spends there, the more convinced he becomes that his son was murdered.

This National Book Award finalist is a wonderful novel of father and sons, love and loss, and guilt and redemption.

Ron Hansen writes like a painter, capturing
Jean Hoefling
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was my first Ron Hansen book, and now I'm sure I'm hooked. Atticus had been recommended as a novel loaded with superb imagery, and I wasn't disappointed. And even more, this is a story full of wonderful, believable characters who are like all of us. It is the tale of the Prodigal Son told in a way that absolutely honors the heart of Christ's most famous parable.
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Terrific writing, and a great story. The character development was stellar. Hansen's writing reminded me a little of Kent Haruf's, but more stripped down. I am looking up his other works so I can read them. What a great book!
Terry Southard
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love this book. Love Ron Hansen.

This is a retelling of the Prodigal Son parable, brought up to modern day. His writing is spare and beautiful. Worth the read. Will be recommending it to my book club for next year.
May 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I could smell the Cerveza on the drunk's breath and feel the humidity in the air.
Gritty, beautiful, sad, and triumphant. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that.
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-book, favorites
I just reread this book. It was well written, spare and it had a particular resonance for me. It reminded me of Plainsong by Kent Haruf...another favorite novel of mine.
Austin Poulsen
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really liked most of this book, but there was a very long viewpoint change at the end of the book, and I felt like it was handled poorly.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply moving. I was a little dissatisfied with a lack of justice for certain crimes committed, but that's one of the difficulties of issuing grace freely in this old broken world.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: well-read-mom, 2018
Modern day retelling of the Bible's parable of the Prodigal Son. Atticus Cody has a complicated with his younger son, Scott Cody. Twenty-some years earlier there was an incident that set Scott off on a path as the son with all the problems and issues, while his older brother is the good son, who does all the right things and has a promising political career.

Scott moves down to Mexico and shortly after Atticus receives word that Scott has committed suicide. Atticus goes down to set up
Carl Williams
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I didn't think I'd like this mystery, but I did. A lot. Though I found it a stretch between the supposed connection this Atticus and Atticus Finch the story engaged me and there were just enough twists and turns for me to keep turning those pages. Recommended.

"She told him, 'When I was in college I read a folktale about a father pursuing a son who'd run far away, from one world to the next. The father called to him, 'Please come back!' But his son looked across the great gulf between them and
Jul 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
Murder in the Caribbean! Written by the author of Marietta in Ectasy, it is written with the same polish and emotion. When Atticus Cody gets word that his son has died in Mexico he leaves to go claim the body. When he gets there things are not as he thought and he came to the conclusion that his son had been murdered. Since it is Mexico he gets little or no help from the police so he does the investigating.

It's a very well written story with true descriptions of Mexico and all the feelings and
LyndaIn Oregon
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A Colorado rancher receives word that his rakehell younger son has committed suicide in Mexico, and sets out to claim the body and bring it home for burial. But he quickly discovers that things in Mexico are not quite what they seem to be.

Up to this point, the novel seems a pretty run-of-the-mill tale of a grieving man sussing out the oddities of a loved one's death, refusing to believe the official story, and trying to determine what really happened.

Then Hansen pulls the rug out from under the
Christina Dudley
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Ron Hansen really can write. This retelling of the parable of the prodigal son has a setting and characters that come alive. Dad Atticus travels to Resurrecion, Mexico, to retrieve the body of his younger son, after that wayward young man commits suicide.

The only reason I didn't give it four stars is that a character rehearses the whole story of the prodigal son in his narrative (including chapter and verse), and I didn't think that was at all necessary. Without it it was already obvious and
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
First I have to say this was the most original work I have read for awhile. It did not seem to follow a formula but just grew into a layered story with a good plot, sense of place, and great characters not the least of which was Atticus. It was a bit difficult to follow now and then but it held my interest to an ending that was not disappointing so all in all it deserved more than 3 stars.
Elly Wendy
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
4* I found this very clever and intriguing. The depiction of people living in terrible poverty is heart-rending, but there are also brighter notes. Powerful writing, and I'll be looking for more from this author.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A father goes to Mexico to recover the body of his son who has committed suicide. However, the dad begins to suspect that his son was murdered. The truth is an interesting convoluted tale, well written with a somewhat surprising ending.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THis was a serendipitous choice...I picked it up because I have a cat named Atticus. I’m so glad I got turned onto Ron Hansen because he’s an excellent novelist. This is a mystery wrapped up in a novel full of regret and longing, especially between a father and estranged son. Loved it!
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. The author's style creates such a sense of place and time, and the characters are interesting.
Started off with this as my 'book in the car' to read at dr appointments and other times, but it was so good that I had to bring it into the house to finish!
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Play Book Tag: Atticus / Ron Hansen - 4**** 4 8 Apr 24, 2016 11:05AM  

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Hansen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, attended a Jesuit high school, Creighton Preparatory School and earned a Bachelor's degree in English from Creighton University in Omaha in 1970. Following military service, he earned an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974 and held a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship at Stanford University. He later earned an M.A. in Spirituality from Santa ...more