Return to Oakpine by Ron Carlson
A Novel

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Carlson's book affectionately captures the rhythms of small-town life. It's an understated work, spread a little too thin.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“ [A] moving novel about friendship, forgiveness, and mortality.” —Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition

Ron Carlson has always been a critics’ favorite, but Return to Oakpine shows the acclaimed writer at his finest. In this tender and nostalgic portrait of western American life, Carlson tells the story of four middle-aged friends who once played in a band while growing up together in small-town Wyoming. One of them, Jimmy Brand, left for New York City and became an admired novelist. Thirty years later in 1999, he’s returned to die. Craig Ralston and Frank Gunderson never left Oakpine; Mason Kirby, a Denver lawyer, is back on family business. Jimmy’s arrival sends the other men’s dreams and expectations, realized and deferred, whirling to the surface. And now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most essential thing they ever do.
 

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 July 11, 2013 by Penguin Books. 273 pages
Genres: Westerns, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Return to Oakpine
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Apr 09 2013

Carlson's book affectionately captures the rhythms of small-town life. It's an understated work, spread a little too thin.

Read Full Review of Return to Oakpine: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Deb Olin Unferth on Aug 02 2013

“Return to Oakpine” is not going to change your mind about anything, but it will be gentle with you, keep you safe, as you maneuver through your own dark, muddy, genuine, decidedly non-1950s world.

Read Full Review of Return to Oakpine: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Aug 13 2013

The town of Oakpine, Wyoming, doesn't exist on maps, but in this new book of his, Ron Carlson has done a splendid job of making a reader feel at home there. Now, this is going to sound like a guy's novel or a novel filled with guy's issues, but it's also got a strong cast of female characters.

Read Full Review of Return to Oakpine: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

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Malinda Charter

Malinda Charter 22 Jul 2014

Added the book to custom list '2013 NPR'

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