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A Sudden Country: A Novel by Karen Fisher

A Sudden Country: A Novel

by Karen Fisher

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    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (amelielyle)
    amelielyle: Both are novels of the American West. Both are the story of intelligent women constrained by the role of 19th century wife and mother. Part of the pathos of each story is the dissolution of those marriages. Lyrical and image-provoking writing style.

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A memorable book about one family's experiences travelling by wagon from Pennsylvania to Oregon in 1850. This novel is based on actual historical records from the author's ancestors, and I loved Karen Fisher's dreamlike writing style. More realistic than romantic, this novel has wonderful characters and true descriptions of the extremely difficult experiences on the road and the job of just surviving such a sojourn. One of the most wrenching opening scenes I've read in a longtime drew me in immediately to this rich story. ( )
  grigoro | Nov 29, 2009 |
This book takes you along with the Mitchell family as they move from Pennsylvania to Oregon in a covered wagon as part of the U.S. migration West. Fisher takes you through the decisions and relationships encountered - the people they meet, the things they take along and eventually leave behind. Survival in everyday life where what was important before the Trail becomes trivial and decadent. Characterized as a love story, but I didn't see it that way. Was a little surprised at the ending, but shouldn't have been. More realistic than romantic, which is prefered I think with this sort of story. ( )
  melissavenable | Jul 27, 2009 |
The author, in this case, takes an event rich with possibility (the Oregon trail migration) and creates a novel which was borderline unreadable as a result of her attempt to create a "literary masterpiece". Using vocabulary which I certainly recognize, she crafts it into a language with which I am not familiar. It should be pointed out that I am quite educated, a voracious reader and an accomplished writer.

I compare and contrast this work unfavorably with the brilliantly written Cold Mountain. All of the misgivings which I felt in undertaking that novel (luckily not realized) were confirmed in A Sudden Country. I could not help but feel that Charles Frazier would have taken the same story line and characters and crafted a far superior product. ( )
  santhony | Sep 25, 2008 |
This the story of a remarried widow, Lucy Mitchell, who is travelling to unsettled Oregon with her husband and five children. Along the way, she meets and falls in love with James MacLaren. James is searching for his wife, he left him with another man shortly before their three children died from small pox.

At times, I loved this book. At other times, I found it frustrating. It is written in a disjointed style, with lots of small breaks. Sometimes I had difficulty following who was being described, and remembering details such as why James' wife had left. And the ending is disappointing.

The best part is that it didn't fall into the trap of rushing towards an ending that neatly wraps everything up. As in reality, life goes on and we live with the choices we have made. ( )
  LynnB | Jul 27, 2008 |
HATED IT! I hate modern moral values slapped on people a century removed from this one. ( )
1 vote Amante | Jul 8, 2008 |
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He carried his girl tied to his front, the trapsack on his back, the rifle balanced like a yoke along his shoulders.
How young we all begin, it seemed. How brave and full of certainty. How terrible it would be to know: not only what we must become, but who we really are.
There's something wrong in all of us. People are like stones. Weak and strong, but none without a fault. Life gets in and cleaves us, every one. Slow like ice. Quick like fire. Have you not heard stone break?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812973437, Paperback)

A vivid and revelatory novel based on actual events of the 1847 Oregon migration, A Sudden Country follows two characters of remarkable complexity and strength in a journey of survival and redemption.

James MacLaren, once a resourceful and ambitious Hudson’s Bay Company trader, has renounced his aspirations for a quiet family life in the Bitterroot wilderness. Yet his life is overturned in the winter of 1846, when his Nez Perce wife deserts him and his children die of smallpox. In the grip of a profound sorrow, MacLaren, whose home once spanned a continent, sets out to find his wife. But an act of secret vengeance changes his course, introducing him to a different wife and mother: Lucy Mitchell, journeying westward with her family.

Lucy, a remarried widow, careful mother, and reluctant emigrant, is drawn at once to the self-possessed MacLaren. Convinced that he is the key to her family’s safe passage, she persuades her husband to employ him. As their hidden stories and obsessions unfold, and pasts and cultures collide, both Lucy and MacLaren must confront the people they have truly been, are, and may become.

Alive with incident and insight, presenting with rare scope and intimacy the complex relations among nineteenth-century traders, immigrants, and Native Americans, A Sudden Country is, above all, a heroic and unforgettable story of love and loss, sacrifice and understanding.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:02 -0400)

Based on actual events of the 1847 Oregon migration, this story follows two characters of remarkable complexity and strength in a journey of survival and redemption. James MacLaren is searching for the wife that deserted him and their children, who later die of smallpox. Lucy is a remarried widow and mother, reluctantly heading west.… (more)

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