By Wallace Stegner
Wallace Stegner's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a narrative of discovery--personal, ancient, and geographical. constrained to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward units out to write down his grandparents' extraordinary tale, chronicling their days spent carving civilization into the skin of America's western frontier. yet his learn unearths much more approximately his personal lifestyles than he's prepared to confess. What emerges is a charming portrait of 4 generations within the lifetime of an American family.
Like different nice quests in literature, Lyman Ward's research leads him deep into the darkish shadows of his personal lifestyles. the result's a deeply relocating novel that, in the course of the prism of 1 family members, illuminates the yankee current opposed to the interesting heritage of its past.
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And to see where the snake was. Kevin was still standing at the same spot; Robyn was a few metres in front of me and doing what I was doing, standing and looking and puffing and trembling; Fi was in the creek, I’ve got no idea why; Lee was up a tree, about six metres from the ground and rising fast; Corrie was intelligently at the fire and using it as protection; Homer was nowhere to be seen. Neither was the snake. ’ I yelled. 25 ‘It went that way,’ said Corrie, pointing into the bush. ’ For someone who’d just been chased by a frenzied snake she seemed the calmest of us all.
And there’s the other thing,’ Lee said. Robyn looked at him. ‘Yes,’ she said. ’ ‘And without lights,’ I added, realising that critical point for the first time. ’ Kevin said. ’ ‘It didn’t strike me,’ I said. ‘You know how you notice something, but not consciously? ’ ‘Let’s assume something else,’ Fi said. She sounded, and looked, angry. ’ 46 She sounded like me, in this same room, not very many minutes earlier. Hadn’t I said ‘absolutely ridiculous’? But now I was starting to come round to Lee and Robyn’s way of thinking.
I asked. ‘He went that way,’ said Corrie, pointing in the opposite direction to the snake. That sounded safe enough, even for Homer. I slowly stopped panicking and came in to the fire. Lee, looking a bit sheepish, began descending the tree. Even Homer appeared eventually, coming cautiously out of a dense patch of scrub. ’ I asked Fi. ’ ‘No they can’t ... can they? Oh my God. Oh my God. I could have died. ’ That was the end of our major excitement for the day, unless you count the Sausage Surprise that Homer and Kevin produced for tea.