Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Son (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Fiction…

The Son (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Fiction Finalists) (original 2013; edition 2013)

by Philipp Meyer

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,193736,721 (4.01)102
Title:The Son (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Fiction Finalists)
Authors:Philipp Meyer
Info:Ecco (2013), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 576 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Son by Philipp Meyer (2013)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 102 mentions

English (66)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All (72)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I bought this book after watching the series The Son and I am so glad I did. This book has it all from the Indian raids to the settling of Texas. It is told by 3 people, Eli, his son Peter, and his great granddaughter Jeanne Anne. It tells the story of Eli being taken hostage by the Indians after his mother, sister and brother are killed. His life with the Indians and how he returned to his own kind and how he made his fortune. Although I think his life would have been kinder to him had he stayed with the Indians because his own children weren't kind to him at all. All in all a very good read with a few surprises at the end. ( )
  Draak | May 28, 2017 |
I loved the historical research and the adaptation of archaic language. This is a lengthy, serious book, and I must admit, at towards the end it was somewhat of a slog for me. I have to give it five stars though, because I've never read anything like it.
An epic, moving story of survival and greed, The Son, as its title suggests, speaks also of the sins visited upon your descendants. The sins are not a literal rebuke from heaven. The sins are the patterns of behavior and the exploitative tendencies we assume from our forefathers. Thus, Philipp Meyer’s book is deeply moral, without appearing to be so. The warlike Comanche Indian are not glorified as selfless, spiritually awakened people, but they are at least admirable in their honesty and survival skills. The settlers who encroach on their land, and later, find oil, may speak of Christian ideals, but they act much like their brutal enemies. There are no heroes in this book, but Meyer’s flawed but vital characters keep us engrossed ( )
  AuthorGabrielle | May 28, 2017 |
The Son of the title is more than just Eli McCulloughand this book is more than just the story of Texas. I wasn't entirely convinced by the voice of Jeannie McCullough and it it took a wee while to keep track of the generations, but the last 100 pages are magnificent. and I learnt a huge amount about Native Americans and the history of that part of America. ( )
  Deborahrs | Apr 15, 2017 |
I had loved Meyer's American Rust when I read it during a holiday in Pennsylvania a couple of years back; a trip to Texas last week seemed like a good excuse to read his follow-up, which showed every sign of being a culmination of his many talents. The Son is a sprawling, multigenerational family tale, not a million miles away from the kind of AGA-saga that people like Joanna Trollope have been writing for years, though because the author is male and American the book – which in alternating chapters follows the members of three different generations from the 1830s to the present day – has been lauded as some kind of revolution in narrative structure.

The earliest storyline, which is by far the most compelling (there's problem one), consists of a first-person account by the family patriarch, who was abducted by Comanches and brought up first as a slave and eventually as an accepted member of the tribe. Here Meyer is in fine deadpan Western mode, channelling Faulkner and – especially – inviting risky comparisons with Cormac McCarthy, in relation to whom Meyer occasionally seems almost to be a pasticheur:

By sundown the walls of the canyon looked to be on fire and the clouds coming off the prairie were glowing like smoke in the light, as if this place were His forge and the Creator himself were still fashioning the earth.

Meyer's prose style is not as distinctive as McCarthy's, and he doesn't have quite the same bleakness of vision (Meyer reacts to man's violence with weariness and sympathy, while McCarthy reacts with pure horror), but he does have a stronger sense of plot and incident. Following Eli McCullough's early life as a Comanche captive is totally compelling from a purely narrative point of view, the inside portrayal of Comanche life is impressively convincing, and interleaving the stories of Eli's descendants makes it very clear how this violence was handed down to future generations.

There is a practical point being made here, which appealed to me: it's not anything high-flown about the metaphysics of conflict and death, but rather about the sober realities of how the American West was built on constant cycles of killing – whether of animals, Native Americans, Mexicans or neighbours – and how these cycles do not just replay endlessly in place but are also even exported (notice how later generations of McCulloughs, heavily involved in the oil industry, discuss creating further opportunities in Iran and Iraq).

On the ranch they had found points from both the Clovis and the Folsom, and while Jesus was walking to Calvary the Mogollon people were bashing each other with stone axes. When the Spanish came there were the Suma, Jumano, Manso, La Junta, Concho and Chisos and Toboso, Ocana and Cacaxtle, the Coahuiltecans, Comecrudos…but whether they had wiped out the Mogollons or were descended from them, no one knew. They were all wiped out by the Apaches. Who were in turn wiped out, in Texas anyway, by the Comanches. Who were finally wiped out by the Americans.

The book's title, then, doesn't refer to any son in particular. Rather, it brings to mind Biblical warnings about where the sins of the father will be visited: that sense of retribution, unfairness, and cyclical violence is what the novel is finally about. The cycles have not stopped and they show every sign of continuing to play out until we're all long gone.

The question is, do you need six hundred pages to illustrate that point? I felt that you didn't, and the book overstayed its welcome slightly for me; from around the halfway mark, I was silently urging, yes, yes, we get it and battling a growing sense that the more modern strands of narrative were underdeveloped and contributing little – they wouldn't stand on their own two feet and only worked as adjuncts to the richer story of the 1860s.

This practical problem, I suspect, is what motivated the novel's structure. Nevertheless, there are passages in here, of Comanche raids and southwestern hoodoos, that I wouldn't have missed for anything; and as a man-hands-on-misery-to-man family drama, it's full of gruff charm, emotional resonance, and pointed reflections on what lies behind the making of America. ( )
1 vote Widsith | Apr 1, 2017 |
A brilliant sprawling tale of a Great American Family. The Eli sections - a more accessible, less gruesome Blood Meridian - are so good that they outshine the other two strands quite dramatically, but it's fun flicking back and forth in time to see quite how the formidable patriarch's reputation was formed. ( )
  alexrichman | Mar 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philipp Meyerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nimwegen, Arjaan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
In the second century of the Christian era, the Empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and most civilised portion of mankind.... ....its genenius wa humbled in the dust; and armies of unknown Barbarians issuing from the frozen regions of the North, had established their victorious reign over the fairest provinces of Europe and Africa. ...the vicissitudes of fortune, which spares neither man nor the proudest of his works...buries empires and cities in a common grave. ---------------Edward Gibbon
For my family
First words
It was prophesied I would live to see one hundred and having achieved that age I see no reason to doubt it.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Comanche Indian captive Eli McCullough must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong -- a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

LibraryThing Author

Philipp Meyer is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

profile page | author page

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
257 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.01)
0.5 1
1 2
2 14
2.5 5
3 55
3.5 23
4 123
4.5 47
5 90


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,148,471 books! | Top bar: Always visible