An indelible portrait of a woman who through great toughness of character blazes her own trail
Novelist William Haywod Henderson has won acclaim for his depictions of land and nature and his ability to bring the American West to vivid life. Of his most recent novel, The Rest of the Earth, Annie Proulx remarked that Henderson "writes some of the most evocative and transcendently beautiful prose in contemporary American literature." Redolent with myth, humor, strange landscapes, and stark reality, Henderson's new novel tells the story of Augusta Locke, a troubled yet spirited woman, as she raises her daughter in the deserts of Wyoming. Spanning the twentieth century, Augusta's extraordinary challenges play out themes of love and loss, home and family, redemption and reconciliation
Against the enormous beauty of the American Midwest depicted in Henderson's third novel, people cast small but significant shadows while tending to families as fragile as fallen leaves. The hero of this century-spanning epic is a tough, restless woman, Augusta "Gussie" Locke. Born in 1903 in rural Minnesota to the beautiful Leota and the coarse, handsome trapper Brud Tornig, Gussie proves a disappointing curiosity to her parents: homely, solitary and given to running away. When Gussie catches her father with another woman, she and Leota flee the state, landing in Greeley, Colo., where Leota marries the wealthy Mr. Locke. On her first day as a Locke, the teenage Gussie once again runs off, escaping civilized life to the mountains of Wyoming. There, she finds work with the oil and mineral crews in the Great Divide Basin and cares for her daughter, Anne, conceived on the run from Greeley. Anne's own trajectory echoes Gussie's, and before long Gussie must face her mother's fate: abandoned by her only child. Saturated with details of the natural Midwest, Henderson's work etches in high relief the image of a solitary life among scenic riches. There is, however, an emotional wall around Henderson's protagonist, inviolable even by such studied prose; as a result, some characters remain elusive, like a beautiful, sun-faded portrait. (Apr.)
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Showing 1-1 of the 1 most recent reviews
1 . Worth Reading
Posted December 16, 2008 by Kathy , Cottonwood HeightsHenderson writes in a way that makes you feel a part of the scenery. I thought his characters needed more...I didn't connect with them very much. I stress that the descriptions of the scenery amazing. I'm glad I read this book for the experience.
March 26, 2007
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