Across Open Ground by Heather Parkinson

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews



With echoes of Cormac McCarthy, an exquisite debut novel from America's heartland.

Seventeen-year-old Walter Pascoe sets out for his first season as a sheep herder and learns quickly the dangers and beauties of the land. Also awakening to matters of the heart, Walter falls in love with a beautiful trapper named Trina Ivy. As they grow closer, America is on the brink of entering the First World War, and is beginning to feel an economic strain and a growing sense of patriotism. When Walter is drafted, he is bound by duty to leave the land and his lover to serve his country.

With an economic eloquence and an ear for the poetry that permeates life lived close to the land, Parkinson deftly illuminates the rituals and disturbances of her characters' world. She sketches the strong bonds and shifting alliances, the intimacy and insularity of family and social life in the fledgling towns of the American West. Amidst the quiet passion that builds between lovers kept apart by miles of prairie and months of seasonal work, the slow specter of war is creeping over a world that heretofore had seemed immutable.

An epic novel about the brutality of nature, the yearnings of first love and the realities of war, Across Open Ground is a remarkable achievement. Parkinson has written a deceptively quiet work of staggering depth, infused with dignity and heartwrenching emotion.

About Heather Parkinson

See more books from this Author
Heather Parkinson is twenty-seven. She lives in Idaho. This is her first novel.
Published May 17, 2002 by Bloomsbury USA. 288 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Across Open Ground

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Haggling for a horse, the endless bustle of lambing, meeting the dangers of too much rain, or of coyotes, or of a mean bastard named Joe Moran comprise much of the story, which could be dull stuff, indeed, if it weren’t for the odd, silted prose that elevates it from a mere herder’s tale into a k...

| Read Full Review of Across Open Ground

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Ironically, the brutality that Pascoe experiences in combat has a harsh parallel in Trina's life, when her stepfather and another rancher attack her, jeopardizing her pregnancy and foretelling a difficult reunion when Pascoe returns from his military ordeal.

| Read Full Review of Across Open Ground

Entertainment Weekly

The laconic man of the West, making his living off the land: He's not a fresh character in American literature, but Walter Pascoe is at least an intriguing addition to the ranks.

Jun 07 2002 | Read Full Review of Across Open Ground

Reader Rating for Across Open Ground

An aggregated and normalized score based on 11 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review