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Modern Ranch Living [Paperback]

Mark Poirier
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jan 2005
It's a summer hotter than hell in Tucson, Arizona, and weird things are afoot in the crumbling desert community of Rancho Sin Vacas (Ranch Without Cattle). Sixteen-year-old Kendra obsessively hones her body into a perfectly muscled machine, even as she struggles to master a mounting violent streak. Her brother Thomas slips into a misanthropic daze while cultivating a bizarre little obsession of his own under the front porch. Another local, Merv, stuck in a rut and going nowhere fast at thirty, reaches his wit's end over his insomniac mother, whose night-time antics begin to wreak havoc on his life. When a strung-out teenager disappears from the Rancho, and rumours of murder surface, these discontented misfits find themselves in an unlikely alliance that will alter the course of one long, sun-baked summer - and perhaps their lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747571708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747571704
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.4 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,457,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Like David Sedaris, Poirier is a sharp, funny writer who has plenty to say about the lurid, tabloid side of modern American life.' Publishers Weekly 'Poirier writes about malcontents, fringe dwellers, and stoners - and it is the rawness of the plots and characters, the lack of writerly affectation in general and condescension in particular, that makes them evocative and real.' New York Times 'Mark Poirier gets funnier book by book, and, also, book by book, darker. In MODERN RANCH LIVING he's Gogol let loose in the desert.' Larry McMurtry 'Zings right along: wild, weird and woolly. Poirier takes me to places I've never been before, with characters I've never met before, and with adventures I haven't experienced in fiction before. He's also one of the funniest writers going today, though I take him very seriously.' Stephen Dixon

From the Publisher

Love, longing and the deadly power of inertia collide in this darkly funny novel --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern Ranch Classic! 9 Sep 2005
By Matt Pucci VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book last summer, and a more delightful novel to while away those lazy, hazy days you'd be hard pushed to find.

The action centres on a small community in Tucson, Arizona, with the disappearance of a local teenager triggering the plot. However, it's the book's principal characters that keep the reader turning the page - notably 16 year-old Kendra, the muscle-bound young girl with a bizarre grammatical habit (her favourite phrase: "plussing as which") and Merv, the 30 year-old pool attendant that still lives with his mom. These characters are immediately engaging, and for all their oddities and imperfections, it is easy for the reader to empathise with them.

The story itself moves at a measured pace, reflecting the nature of a long, drawn-out summer, while the twists in the plot are wholly believable without being too predictable. If you read his previous novel, Goats, then you'll be impressed by the way Poirier has developed as a great story-teller, with an ability to create some of the most fascinating literary characters around in a setting he has made entirely his own. If you're new to the author, then this is a great place to discover a rare talent.

In short, Modern Ranch Living is a well-written, easy-going novel and yet it manages to grip the reader from start to finish. Highly recommended.

Matt Pucci
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5.0 out of 5 stars Third time of reading 30 Jan 2014
By davepig
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
and I still absolutely love it! A book about that confounds traditional expectations of 'heroes/heroines' or 'happy endings' but is actually, in its own very unusual way, inspiring to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deceptively uplifting 18 Jun 2011
As other reviews have mentioned, there is a similarity in this book to Douglas Copeland with its description of modern suburban America but I think Modern Ranch Living is more about its characters than social satire. Also, Poirier's leads are both driven, confident and successful in their own ways (one as a water park manager and the other as a fitness enthusiast) - if this was Copeland they would be downtrodden geeks being hopelessly ground down by Corporate America.

At its heart the book is about growing up, learning to be more tolerant and finding your place in the world. It also highlights the hidden secrets of everyday normal people. Overall I found the story both interesting and deceptively uplifting. Definitely worth reading and I have bought Poirier's Goats on the back of finishing it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric and enjoyable 2 Nov 2010
Set in a small desert community just outside Tuscon during an oppressive, blistering summer, this book's cast of flawed, yet very human characters, is immediately engaging.

What it lacks in way of plot development, it more than makes up for with its principal protagonists - 16 year-old fitness compulsive Kendra, with her weird, yet amusing grammatical habits and Merv, a 30 year old college drop-out and pool attendant who still lives with his mother. Strange to say, these two individuals, albeit with odd outlooks on life are easy for the reader to identify with.

This is the first Poirier novel that I've read, but he has an amazing ability to create quirky yet believable characters and place them in an environment he is obviously very familiar with.

`Modern Ranch Living' is an entertaining, hugely enjoyable novel.
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