by James Galvin
List Price: $25.83 Amazon.com:N/A
8vo - over 7 3/4" - 9 3/4" tall.
Posted by Sara Neyer on 10/27/1999
Posted by Roy W. Lilley on 05/25/2000
Posted by Z*lda on 05/21/2002
The realism of rural life in the mountains is combined with haunting personal stories that keep you reading. The author has a genuine empathy for nature and for the individual people who have the stamina to survive in a harsh environment. Highly recommended.
Posted by Ronald Scheer on 02/14/2003
By today's standards of urban comforts and conveniences (many of which have found their way into lives of people who live far from the city), Lyle lives a kind of pioneer existence, isolated much of the year by deep snow, living by his skills as a carpenter and builder, and the proceeds of hay harvested from his meadow, and spending the time when he can do neither of these in his shop making machinery parts, carved wooden boxes, firearms, and whatever else captures his fascination. He is an immensely private and self-sufficient man, who never marries and seems to hold in his heart the strongest connection with a dead sister who committed suicide. (A painting by Clara Van Waning appears on the cover of the book.) Galvin captures in Lyle the kind of fiercely independent spirit that made survivors of those who first settled and thrived in the American wilderness.
There are other men and women associated with the meadow. And their stories are also told, including App Worster and his son Ray, whose family owns the meadow before the Van Wanings, and who lose it during the Depression. We also learn something of a neighboring rancher Frank Lilley, who is dying of cancer, and whose family continues to keep his ranch going. There's also Ferris, who tries the frontier patience of his neighbors to the breaking point by dumping truckloads of old appliances on his property and denuding his small pasture with over-grazing.
"The Meadow" is told with wonderful precision, a photographic attention to details, and a deep feeling for a kind of life that survives in spite of isolation and often hostile elements. While Galvin does not romanticize the lives of his characters, he does celebrate them. There's a deep attachment in this book to the region that is his home, the landscape and changing seasons, and the people who have put down roots there. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the West and the lives of those who have adapted to its harsh extremities and cherished its stark beauty. As a companion, I would recommend Mark Spragg's "Where Rivers Change Direction," an account of growing up in northwest Wyoming.