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Giant by Edna Ferber

Giant (original 1952; edition 1980)

by Edna Ferber

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461822,528 (3.86)66
Authors:Edna Ferber
Info:New Portway Book / Chivers (1980), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Fiction, Read but unowned

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Giant by Edna Ferber (1952)



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Giant is a very descriptive novel of a Virginia woman who marries a Texan shortly after World War I. The novel is thoughtful and withstands the effects of time. Although I have seen Showboat, I had never read an Edna Ferber book until Giant. After reading it, I will definitely try to see the movie version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean. ( )
  Amusedbythis | Sep 2, 2013 |
I bought this one over five years ago while in Marfa, Texas visiting a friend from high school. Marfa was actually home base for the filming of the movie with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. I don't know why I put off reading this for so long since I really liked the movie and loved my stay in Texas. In any case, the book was far more enjoyable than I expected it to be, with (sadly) still-relevant commentary on class, gender, and immigration. Most of it consists of the viewpoint of an educated East Coast woman who marries a Texas rancher and her early impressions and observations of life in Texas. I liked both, but now that I've read it, I'd say that the film adaptation is well done, not too faithful, with some good narrative choices and framing decisions. ( )
  sly_wit | Mar 30, 2013 |
Giant is Edna Ferber's classic novel about Virginia socialite Leslie Lynnton and her improbable marriage to Texan cattleman Jordan 'Bick' Bennedict. Pretty, refined and sharply intelligent, Leslie makes a stark contrast to her swaggering husband. Bick is the king of the million acre Reatta Ranch in Texas. Set after the end of the first World War, Bick has strong opinions about the place of women and everyone else in society. Taught to think for herself, Leslie struggles to adjust to the harsh Texas landscape and the social customs of the society she has married into.

Fans of the movie Giant should be happily surprised that the movie followed the book so closely. Fans of Texas will probably be less pleased. While not a smear job, Giant does not always paint Anglo Texans in the most flattering light. Their destruction of the land through unsound farming and grazing practices is described. The inherent bigotry of the Mexican people is also relentlessly explored. The bigness, bragging, overheated egos, misogyny, friendliness, sense of family and custom and racism are all laid bare. Most startling is despite being written decades ago, many of the social themes of the novel still seem very much resonant today. ( )
  queencersei | Feb 18, 2012 |
Giant encompasses the story of the Benedict family and their friends and neighbors, but it also gives the reader a series of contrasts: cattle vs. oil, the old generation vs. the new one, the east cost vs. Texas, men vs. women, Mexicans vs. Anglos. Not surprisingly for Ferber (who also wrote the novel that Showboat -- one of the best musicals of all time -- was based on), racial equality and social justice are big themes in the book. While sometimes these themes are pushed at the expense of the story, the book is an interesting read as a non-Texan's view of these ranching men and women with all their quirks -- both the endearing ones and the irritating ones. Of course, maybe I liked it because I'm not from Texas either, even though I've lived here for ten years. I could see "real" Texans having some problems with the book...

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2010/07/giant-by-edna-ferber-1952.html ] ( )
1 vote kristykay22 | Jul 9, 2010 |
Had to add this books again after deleting it. I am not keeping my copy because it is and old and worn paperback, but it was worth reading. I don't read much fiction, but I did like the movie and that drew me to the novel. It is an view of Texas, predjudice and how we have changed. Well, maybe not that much. I do recommend this book. ( )
  Borg-mx5 | Feb 13, 2010 |
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Een vreemdelinge in eigen huis.
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Een oud Texasser gezegde luidt: "In Texas komt eerst het vee, dan de mannen, dan de paarden, en de vrouwen het laatst".
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060956704, Paperback)

This sweeping tale captures the essence of Texas on a staggering scale as it chronicles the life and times of cattleman Jordan "Bick" Benedict, his naive young society wife, Leslie, and three generations of land-rich sons. A sensational story of power, love, cattle barons, and oil tycoons, Giant was the basis of the classic film starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:25 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Bick Benedict, his society-gilded wife and three generations of land-rich Texas sons and daughters love, swagger, connive and clash in a monumental drama of family strife, racial bigotry and conflict between cattle barons and newly-rich oil tycoons.

(summary from another edition)

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