- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics (5 Dec. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099589672
- ISBN-13: 978-0099589679
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Butcher's Crossing (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Dec 2013
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
"His Stoner is the book that has garnered the attention, but I prefer this earlier take on the Western genre…it has some gory, visceral passages that are not for the faint-hearted" (Kate Atkinson Irish Times)
"Shorn of sentimentality or decoration, the events and places [Williams] describes begin to feel inescapable, permanent, and rivetingly dramatic. This is language that seems to be carved into stone – into mountains... Stoner showed us a writer who had written a great book. To those of us who didn't know already, Butcher's Crossing reveals John Williams to be more than that: forgotten writer as he was, he was unquestionably also a great one" (Archie Bland Independent)
"Superbly understated" (Rosemary Goring Herald)
"One of the finest books about the elusive nature of the West ever written… It’s a graceful and brutal story of isolated men gone haywire" (Time Out)
"Harsh and relentless yet muted in tone, Butcher’s Crossing paved the way for Cormac McCarthy" (New York Times Book Review)
The author of Stoner delivers something completely different but equally unique, skewering romantic notions of the Wild West with a brilliant, brutal tale of buffalo hunters that reverberates with understated power.See all Product description
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top Customer Reviews
Several other books came to mind while I was reading this including "The Heart of Darkness," "The Old Man and The Sea," and very definitely "Moby Dick."
If you are looking for a conventional western tale, this book may not be for you. There is no gun-slinging; there are no Indians or sheriffs - instead there is life on the edge of things, without morality or restraint, and the hypnotic fascination of slaughter and destruction. And the changes on the individual characters that elemental experience creates, as man rampages through the diminishing wilderness.
But while there may be allegory, there is also a riveting story of hardship and survival that is as gripping as it is realistic. We get the smell of the west, or the stench rather, and the burn of the sun and the brutality of the hard country and the snow, and - as the doomed buffalo are skinned - the peeling away of the outer layers of civilisation to show the raw meat underneath.
The book is divided into three parts: preparations to head out for the wild country; the finding, the killing and the marooned months of the buffalo hunt itself; and the return to the town of Butcher's Crossing, from which the hunting party set out.
Each part has its own strength and brilliance. The final part is apocalyptic and the very end masterly.
I had never heard of John Williams before happily stumbling across the kindle edition of this book. For me it had almost everything you look for in a novel: a strong story, sharp characterizations, pace, fine writing, and that other revelatory layer beneath it all that stays in the mind for a long, long time.
Andrews a young man from a privileged Boston background sets out to find himself and his purpose on the edge of civilisation's still Wild West. Starting in Kansas he finances a buffalo hunt into the mountains of Colorado. There are four main characters: Miller the stoic hunt leader, his alcoholic side kick and wagon master Charlie Hoge, the skinner Fred Schnider and young Andrews himself .
The journey to the "hidden valley" in itself makes for a fine gripping yarn as they battle against the terrain with an unwieldy wagon and for a time a desperate lack of water. The slaughter of the beasts is unrelenting as Miller driven by blood lust or dollar greed determines to kill every one of the several thousand buffalo who have peacefully summered in this valley for centuries. Andrews learns under the tutelage of Schnider how to skin and stretch the hides and how to butcher the carcasses for sustenance. Gradually the youthful slack body becomes that of a hard man. Charlie like a true alcoholic quietly goes about the business of running the camp sustained by whiskey laced coffee. Never drunk , but never entirely sober and never far from his Bible.There is constant conflict between Miller and Schnider as to a limit to the killing and when to leave the valley before being trapped by winter snow. Andrews tries to be the voice of reason ,but is out of his depth in this situation while Charlie blindly and faithfully sides with Miller. There is a dubious possibly homosexual relationship between these two.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two of my interests crossed paths and led me to read John Williams' novel, "Butcher's Crossing" (1960). Read morePublished 28 days ago by Robin Friedman
Brilliant as ever. A coming of age story set in the old west told by a master. John Williams produced three great works of literature but is almost forgotten.Published 1 month ago by Patrick McParland
Powerfully imaginative, but lacking the depth and subtlety of William's great novel, Stoner.
There are marvellous descriptions and lyric evocations of the human and... Read more
There is a review somewhere that says John Williams set the stage for Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian, and that seems about right. Read morePublished 7 months ago by johnh