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The Big Rock Candy Mountain - Wallace Stegner

“Where the bluebird sings to the lemonade springs and the little streams of alcohol come trickling down the rocks. The Hobo Heaven, the paradise of the full belly and the lazy backside. That was where his family had been headed for all his life.”

Our very own Reggie Mr. Cutsyke mentioned this book on here. The second book of Wallace Stegner’s I have read on Cuts recommendation.

First published in 1943 its an epic tale of the Mason family over thirty years. Father Bo, sons Chester and Bruce, and the woman who holds everything together Elsa. The family is an example of the thousands of people who ventured west into the wildernesses of America to start a new life in the early years of the last century. Apart from being epic in the timescale of the story it is also epic in its geography. The novel takes the reader through the Iowa, Dakota, Montana, Saskatchewan Canada, Minnesota, and the Badlands of Nebraska.

In the first episode of another American epic the tv drama The Sopranos, one of the first lines of a voiceover narrative by Tony Soprano says “I’ve always wondered what it must have been like to be involved with something from the ground floor up”. This also seems to be something that Bo Mason must have pondered as he lead his family across the North Western States of the U.S. chasing his dreams. Hoping one day to find the nirvana mentioned in the novels title. Bo Mason always seemed to get into a business venture just after somebody else had the edge on it. Be it mineral mining, running casinos, or whiskey running during prohibition.

Apart from the pioneer storyline this is a great family saga. Stegner excellently captures the dynamic between brothers, between son and father, and the love and loyalty of a woman like Elsa Mason to her husband and sons. This is a great book and one that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the right stuff of American literature.
Plastic Man

I fancy reading that.

One of my favourite, or maybe my favourite fiction books of all time. I can identify with Bo Mason;I've spent my whole life thinking I've missed the party.

Another one from that era, surprisingly good My Antonia Willa Cather. Part of a trilogy but the only one I've read. By Christ life in the US was hard then. Forum Index -> Fishy Tales
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