Five Skies by Ron Carlson

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Beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in thirty years, Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life.

As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year.


About Ron Carlson

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Ron Carlson is the author of five story collections and four novels, including The Signal and Five Skies. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, Playboy, GQ, Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He is the director of the writing program at the University of California at Irvine and lives in Huntington Beach, California.
Published May 17, 2007 by Penguin Books. 260 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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An emotionally bleak novel by noted short-story writer Carlson (A Kind of Flying, 2003, etc.) develops a strong, touching bond among three male workers on an isolated building crew in the Idaho mountains.

May 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Five Skies

The New York Times

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Arthur Key, one of the characters at the center of Ron Carlson’s bluntly beautiful and unnerving novel, is a set builder for Hollywood films, a designer of three-sided barns, parts of fences and corners of houses, “sometimes just a frame with a tile roof.” He’s dependable and a stickler for safet...

Aug 19 2007 | Read Full Review of Five Skies

Book Reporter

His description of the work of welding and of carpentry, his depiction of Ronnie's pride and the other men's good-natured ribbing following the young man's construction of a dinner table strong enough to hold an elephant grant manual labor the sort of serious consideration with which few of us re...

Apr 29 2008 | Read Full Review of Five Skies

Entertainment Weekly

Three men, strangers to one another, take on an ambitious construction project in Five Skies, building a stunt motorcycle ramp across a craggy river canyon in the sage country of Idaho.

May 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Five Skies

Bookmarks Magazine

Sybil Downing NY Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars "Five Skies is like one of those heartbreaking Raymond Carver stories in which a luckless character catches a glimpse of something better, a small moment of rightness about the world, and, instead of cheering us, this glimmer of hope makes us e...

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Five Skies

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