- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 838 KB
- Print Length: 577 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; TV Tie-In edition (18 July 2013)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B008J48QJG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 2,311 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Son Kindle Edition
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'Magnificent ... McCarthy's Border Trilogy is a point of reference, as is There Will Be Blood, but it is not fanciful to be reminded of certain passages from Moby-Dick - it's that good', The Times
'Only in the greatest of historical novels do we come to feel both the distance of the past and our own likely complicity in the sins of a former age, had we been a part of it. To that rank, we now add The Son', New York Times
'The Son makes a viable claim to be a Great American Novel... an extraordinary orchestration of American history', Washington Post
'Its viscerality and boundless capacity for storytelling puts it on a par with the classic of the genre, Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian' , Sunday Telegraph
'Brilliant ... a wonderful novel' -- Lionel Shriver
'Meyer is an impressive and multi-talented storyteller in the old, good sense – the kind that makes me hang on for whatever the next chapter will hold' -- Richard Ford
‘The Son is an epic, heroic, hallucinatory work of art’ -- Chris Cleave --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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The action was quite brutal at times but always readable and never gratuitous. The flaw was that in telling the history from the viewpoint of 3 protagonists, the story suffered from one characters part being so much more interesting than the other two and at times my interest flagged when the story teller changed.
But all in all, a very good read.
The viewpoint switches on a three chapter cycle: Colonel Eli McCullough, tough and vengeful, even psychopathic, made acquisitive by harsh experience, who survives capture by the Comanche Indians as a teenager to become head of a major cattle and oil dynasty; his granddaughter Jeanne Anne, a "chip off the old block" who carries on his work; his son Peter, sensitive and introspective, so dismissed as weak, his whole life blighted by the guilt of the family's casual massacre of an old Mexican family, rivals for land. Ironically Ulises Garcia, a descendant of both families, may prove a worthier inheritor of the Colonel's wealth than his pampered great-great-grandchildren who have lost their fighting spirit. Running three main threads in parallel may confuse the reader, and for me it detracted from the dramatic tension of some key events, but it helps to remind one continually of the connections between the characters, the causes and effects of their actions.
Although at times it may seem little more than a swashbuckling western or prequel to a Dallas-type soap, this is raised above the average by the depth of Meyer's research. Too often, chunks of this are planted in the middle of the drama, but some passages are fascinating, such as the detailed description of how Indians made ingenious use of every part of a buffalo, leaving only the heart within the rib-cage to show the gods they were not greedy, or the chilling account of exactly how a teenage white boy turned native would set about preserving his first scalp.
The well-knotted ending enhanced my opinion of the story after some lengthy periods of frustration in which I wished Meyer had worked a little harder on his dialogue and character development - inevitably thin at times with so many players, and that he had been more ruthless in leaving out some minor scenes to leave more space for "showing" rather than the "telling" which is often too dominant. These shortcomings, such as the corny Hollywood-style of communication adopted by Eli's Comanche companions around 1850, place this book closer to airport blockbuster than literary fiction. I'm sure it will sell very well, it is impressive but not in the same league as Cormac McCarthy with his mindblowing prose.
This will inspire many to revisit the history of the development of the west, but in the meantime a glossary of e.g. Mexican terms used and of some historical characters mentioned would have been useful.
A myriad of themes run through this novel and I felt it could have been improved if the story had been kept simpler. For a long time I found it hard to keep track of who was who, and related to whom? Who, exactly, is The Son? And who fathered him? The land? The Indians? Mother Nature? Is "the son" actually a daughter? Does it matter? It's the kind of novel that makes you ask yourself such annoying questions and thus gets in the way of itself.
Don't get me wrong though, it's an excellent mixture of drama, history, romance and men having to do what men have to do. A bit Dances With Wolves, a bit Gone With The Wind, a bit True Grit and only slightly marred by being a bit Too Long. I like Westerns, there aren't enough of them. If you liked his, then treat yourself to Lonesome Dove, thrill yourself with Valdez is Coming and read something similar.
I deleted one star because I regularly felt a bit lost about where or what the surviving matriarch was saying.
Also, the use of modern idiom, or coarse language, by indians, while I understand the rationale, took away from an otherwise elegiac tale.
And while it was indeed a page turner, a lot of the principal characters were a serious bunch of misery-guts!
Top international reviews
PS: Das englischsprachige Hörbuch ist exzellent gelesen.
I was not disappointed by her recommendation.
Spanning several generations and covering a variety of themes, this book is an eye opener into the never ending consequences of colonialism. From the Native Americans on the Texas/South West plains to the Mexican era and into the American oil barons, who each trashed the peoples they conquered in the region, this book peals back the layers of place and displacement, which are covered in duplicity, violence and heartbreak.
I hope Philipp Meyer writes more...he is a mature, intelligent and interesting writer. Well worth every turn of the page.
Modern Texas seems to be a consequence of this struggle in many ways – gun culture, Yahoos, capital punishment, incarceration 20% higher than US average (5 times Australia’s), lack of freedom from religion (up until recently atheists couldn’t join the government service, Mega churches of the religious right dominate politics), big divide between rich and poor etc. There are of course positives the state is prosperous with low taxes and lots of development. The state has a strong culture of personal freedom to do what you like rather than the nanny culture often prevalent in Australia. An item in today’s news is a drive by shooting where car pulled alongside another and shot a passenger dead for no apparent reason. The Sheriff called in a random drive by shooting, not unusual in Texas apparently.
The modern history of Texas is told through the eyes of three people over many generations of the McCullough dynasty. The characters Eli McCullough, Peter McCullough and Jeannie McCullough didn’t seem to change much from childhood to grave. None of them seemed very admirable Eli and Jeanne were both ruthless. They seem to acquire wealth and power for its own sake. The only purpose seemed to be some Nietzschean one of the strong vanquishing the weak. This being what the weak deserve. Peter had a sense of morality lacking in the others but was weak and ineffective in implementation. A couple of the minor characters the Indian Chief Toshaway and Judge Black seemed admirable.
The style of jumping back and forth in time seemed appropriate. Some of the descriptions such as how to use all of a buffalo were tedious. 3 out of 5.
What I didn’t enjoy was the back and forward between different family members at different times. It got a bit confusing with a few of the characters. I think a more linear written book would have been more amazing and the characters would have felt realistic.
Overall still loved the book. Just not how it was laid out.
A lo largo de la novela se intercalan regularmente la historia de Eli McCullough, su abducción y su vida con los comanches, la reincorporación al mundo de los blancos, una experiencia que pudo ser igual a las de la gran cantidad de niños blancos que pasaron realmente por esta experiencia. El diario de Peter McCullough, hijo de Eli -a quien todos llaman el Coronel- y la de Jean-Ann McCullough, nieta de Peter. Con estos tres presonajes intercalados y aparentemente desonectados el uno del otro, Philip Meyer construye la historia de esta saga a base de relatos cortos, unos relatos que te mantienen pegado a las páginas del libro.
Conocer algo de la historia de Texas resulta de gran ayuda pero aún para quienes la desconocen el libro es cautivador y muy recomendable.
I read no preview, didn't even realize as I have it on kindle its length, which a few reviewers found beyond necessary. When the writing is this talented, & the entire saga so captivating & thought out in the way it was, crafted with purpose in every segment, l don't care about length, unless it's the doldrums. I have lived in Texas, though Im Canadian, so I am can see some scenery , I know the Mexican relationship which fortunately has evolved but still has issues,though this is part, the Comanches are more relevant to the beginning. Some women are turned off by what they assume is a ,mans western. Men will enjoy this but I feel women may take more from it.
But this one just keeps on dragging you along without ever getting interesting... I mean, sure, there are some nice tidbits concerning Texas history which were of interest to me because I used to live there but if that's the best aspect of a book I can come up with, it sure as hell doesn't bode well
Si je mets quatre étoiles au lieu de cinq c'est à cause de l'omniprésence de la violence. Certes les scènes de viol, de torture, voire de génocide servent à définir les personnages et ne sont pas gratuites, mais elles peuvent être extrêmement déstabilisantes.
An excellent read.