Monday, September 29, 2014

The High Divide

The High Divide
Lin Enger
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Algonquin Books (September 23, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616203757
ISBN-13: 978-1616203757

Idgie Says: 
A good "throwback" hard-scrabble survival novel set in the 1800s.  I call it a survival novel only in the Western novel requirements that you have to have some way to live and thrive in these hard-edged towns on the edge of nothing.  Women are dependent on men.  Men are dependent on land and cash.  Children grow up very early.  It seems that the characters in these novels are always on the edge of losing it all.

I read a review comparison between Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy in the writing influence in this novel. I would say that the phrasing and descriptions are more starkly written in the vein of McCarthy, but the characters are more fully fleshed out and containing emotion in the style of McMurtry.

You want to know why the husband left.  You want to know how the wife will survive on her own.  You want to know what the boys will do and if they'll manage on their own.  I will say, you also want to kick the crap out of the husband for his actions.   

When you get mad and want to take action against a character......that means it's a good story that has you in it's grip.

 Book Description:

 In 1886, Gretta Pope wakes one morning to discover that her husband is gone. Ulysses Pope has left his family behind on the far edge of Minnesota’s western prairie, with only the briefest of notes and no explanation for why he left or where he’s headed. It doesn’t take long for Gretta’s young sons, Eli and Danny, to set off after him, following the scant clues they can find, jumping trains to get where they need to go, and ending up in the rugged badlands of Montana.

Short on money and beleaguered by a treacherous landlord, Gretta has no choice but to seek out her sons and her husband as well, leading her to the doorstep of a woman who seems intent on making Ulysses her own. While out in the Western wilderness, the boys find that the closer they come to Ulysses’ trail, the greater the perils that confront them–until each is faced with a choice about whom they will defend, and who they become.

Enger’s breathtaking portrait of the vast plains landscape is matched by the rich expanse of his characters’ emotional terrain, as pivotal historical events–the bloody turmoil of expansionism, the near total demise of the bison herds, and the subjugation of the Plains Indians–blend seamlessly with the intimate story of a family’s sacrifice and devotion.


Panel Discussion on Creating Books

Panelists talked about how a book is created. The panelists included Lin Enger, author of The High Divide; Kathy Pories and Ina Stern of Algonquin Books; literary agent P.J. Mark; and Barbara Hoffert, editor of Library Journal.

The panel, “The Journey of a Book: From Writer to Reader,” took place at the 2014 BookExpo America, the publishing industry’s annual trade show, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. close