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West by Carys Davies
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10612168,094 (3.7)26



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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Pretty good until the end when I simply didn’t buy the violence. ( )
  adrianburke | Mar 3, 2019 |
This is a short book and seems quiet, but is about some big issues. Mainly, it is about the hubris of the white men in the early days of the US. Their belief in their own greatness and assumptions about their entitlements to the natural world, over the native people, and over women. A subtly drawn, spare story with strong writing. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Carys Davies is a gifted storyteller! This heartwarming tale of a father heading west to chase an elusive dream, a daughter left behind dreaming of his return, and a Native American youth trying to make sense of his world upended, is entrancing from the start. As the reader, I felt charmed, felt dread, felt relief, felt bemused and more. This is a tale of dreaming, of harsh realities, of the dashing of hope, of peace and wonder.

I was left wondering how today's dreamers fulfill their adventurous drive to explore on a planet without new frontiers? ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 7, 2018 |
West begins with a wonderful premise, a good cast of characters, and some lovely language. Then it ends. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. Part of me thinks, I could've stayed with these characters for a full 300 pages. I would've endured the journey wherever it took me. Surely this story could've gone on longer. Then again, I'm not sure. There's such a thing as a story stretched too thin, and I think West could've been a victim of this had it been much longer. Perhaps it is too long as it is. Maybe West isn't too short for a novel, but too long for a short story. The final fourth of this novella does wane a bit. I'm not sure what side of the fence I fall on, but something feels off about it and I think it has to do with length.

Overall, West is a wonderfully quick and entertaining read. The premise really sells this book. In the early 1800s, a father goes on a quest to find monstrous beasts whose bones have recently been unearthed. He leaves his daughter behind to begin her own quest into womanhood. It's a wonderful idea and I think Carys Davies pulls it off exceptionally well. I'm curious to see what else Davies can do, long or short. ( )
  chrisblocker | Jun 28, 2018 |
Mule breeder Cy Bellman reads that dinosaur bones have been found in Kentucky and heads west on horseback on what may be a two-year journey to see the extraordinary beasts, leaving his ten-year-old daughter Bess behind in the care of his sister, who's convinced they'll never see him again. A quest narrative: "All I can say is that the only thing in the world I want to do now, is to go out there, into the west, and find them." Economical in scale, epic in scope. "[H]e found himself wondering if his search for the vanished monsters might not turn out to have been undertaken at too high a price."

Though they're very different books, it dovetails in my mind with Jiles' News of the World. ( )
  beaujoe | Jun 1, 2018 |
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When widower John Cyrus Bellman learns of colossal animal bones found in Kentucky, he leaves his daughter on their Pennsylvania farm and heads west in search of the unknown animals.

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