The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner
(Contemporary American Fiction)

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Bo Mason, his wife, Elsa, and their two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks out his fortune—in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.Stegner portrays more than thirty years in the life of the Mason family in this masterful, harrwoing saga of people trying to survive during the lean years of the early twentieth century.


About Wallace Stegner

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In 1972, Stegner won a Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose (1971), a novel about a wheelchair-bound man's re-creation of his New England grandmother's experience in a late nineteenth-century frontier town. As a result, Stegner is undergoing something of a revival. His work enjoys a new appreciation for its traditional narrative forms, its use of rich detail, and the unpretentious way it treats general social and psychological issues. For readers tired or confused by postmodernist fiction, Stegner offers relief. Stegner may also be the beneficiary of a quickening of interest in the latest literary westward expansion that includes such diverse writers as Jane Smiley and Larry McMurtry. Stegner's novels and stories are profoundly influenced by the American West where he grew up, and he wants to construct the history of a place where people went, often trying to escape the past. Moving between Eastern "cultivation" and Western "nature," Stegner's novels trace various stages in the Westward movement of the American experience. Against this broad cultural landscape, showing the modern betrayal of the past, Stegner details individual human behavior through a range of fully conceived and finely drawn characters. He is a master at tracing the changes over time in marriages and friendships, as well as at depicting the poignant tensions between a mind that remains strong in a body that is succumbing to illness.
Published March 1, 1991 by Penguin Books. 576 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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This is the most important book Wallace Stegner has done, and he has been marked as "a comer" ever since his memorable novelette, Remembering Laughter.

Oct 05 2011 | Read Full Review of The Big Rock Candy Mountain (...

Arts Sarasota

Writers like Wallace Stegner, sometimes called the "dean of Western writers," don't get much play out here in Florida, but for those of us whose roots are west of the Rockies, his many novels that capture the essence of the 20th-century American West are mainstays either on our have-read lists or...

Feb 15 2013 | Read Full Review of The Big Rock Candy Mountain (...

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