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Justice (1995)

by Larry Watson

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2596103,897 (3.77)39
Fiction. Literature. Western. HTML:The author of Montana 1948 explores the early years of a powerful Western family in these "beautifully written" linked stories (USA Today).
Larry Watson's bestselling novel Montana 1948 was acclaimed as a "work of art," a prize-winning evocation of a time, a place, and a family (San Francisco Chronicle). Justice is the stunning prequel that illuminates the Hayden clan's early years, and the circumstances that led to the events of Montana 1948. With the precision of a master storyteller, Watson moves seamlessly through the decades and among the strong and hard-bitten characters that make up the Hayden family, and in the process opens an evocative window on the very heart of the American West.
"An engrossing story of love, familial relationships, and secrets . . . re-creates the vivid beauty of Big Sky country." Booklist
"Filled with rugged prose sometimes as biting as a northern plains wind." The Washington Post
"Surprises and scenes of dramatic power punctuate the narrative . . . Throughout, Watson writes with ruthless honesty about his characters' stunted dreams, unpredictable emotions and outbursts of senseless violence, showing once again that he understands not only the West but the untamed hearts that have roamed it." Publishers Weekly (starred review.)
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Larry Watson takes us back to Bentrock, Montana and the Hayden family. Well, since this is a prequel, I'm not sure if he is actually 'taking us back', or what, but here we are! And what a family it is! We be seven different stories traversing the years 1899 to 1937, or one year before the original novella. My favorite story was the first one, "Outside the Jurisdiction", but I liked them all quite a bit! A good read all the way through! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | May 29, 2021 |
A collection of stories that give a history and foundation to the Hayden family of Watson's novel, Montana, 1948. The stories are primarily character studies, but they also strongly evoke Place, as the wind, heat, snow and space of the prairies of Montana and North Dakota come to life on the page. The writing here is excellent, and now I feel Watson deserves a place on my shelves next to Haruf and Doig and Stegner. I was less impressed with Montana, 1948, but I suspect it deserves a re-read, and I further suspect I will feel differently about it the second time.
Reviewed 2014 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Apr 12, 2021 |
This prequel to [Montana 1948] helps give us the background on the Hayden family and how they came to be the adults we find in that other work.

This book is more of a young adult novel about the relationship between fathers and sons, and between brothers. There is some great dialogue. And Watson has a talent for describing time & place. But, in my opinion, [Montana 1948] is the better book. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 26, 2016 |
Very spare group of short stories about the people and places first met in Watson's Montana 1948. Very good! ( )
  Hope_H | Jan 15, 2016 |
The Book Report: A collection of previously published short pieces, Justice tells the backstory of the Haydens of Bentrock, Montana, the family at the center of Watson's one bestselling novel Montana 1948. We meet patriarch Julian Hayden in 1899, barely dry behind the ears and ready to take on the world; his shy, retiring, high-strung wife Enid on the day she married him; his two sons on the day childhood ended for both, in which the seeds of Montana 1948 are explicitly sown; Wesley's short, abortive run for freedom from the weight of expectations sparks at a terrible family Thanksgiving dinner; Julian's and Wesley's deputy and general sad-sack, Len McAuley, comes in from the pointlessness of secondary characterization in unexpected and poignant ways; and then the marriage and parenthood of North Dakotan steel magnolia Gail and Wesley, a life started in, and blighted by, the shadows of the Hayden family legacy.

My Review: This is decidedly not Montana 1948. It's perfectly good read on its own, actually, just as character sketches of a family and its effects on the world at large, and its costs to the members thereof. I can't complain about anything here, because Dr. Watson is a prose stylist whose direct, pared down artistry is very appealing to me. I can't urge all and sundry to rush out and buy a copy, either, because the book is a collection of short stories with all the cultural freight implicit in that description. Tastes and hints and pieces are the stuff of short stories, and that is both a strength and a weakness. Here, it's perfect, because the novel they prequelize (a rather lumpish and ungainly neologism, but "prefigure" is so stuffily snooty) is in itself a marvel of tight, concise storytelling that leaves acres of room to wonder about the people in it. But on its own, under its own steam, it's very good but not great. Good writing, interesting characters, but nothing...well, nothing to launch it to that next level, say like American Salvage or Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.

Still. You have definitely done worse by yourself than reading these seven stories. I'm glad I finally made room for them on the nightstand. Recommended. ( )
5 vote richardderus | Nov 5, 2010 |
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When Tommy Salter, Lester Hoenig, and the Hayden brothers left Bentrock, Montana, at dawn, only a gentle snow - flakes fat as bits of white cloth - fell from the November sky.
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Fiction. Literature. Western. HTML:The author of Montana 1948 explores the early years of a powerful Western family in these "beautifully written" linked stories (USA Today).
Larry Watson's bestselling novel Montana 1948 was acclaimed as a "work of art," a prize-winning evocation of a time, a place, and a family (San Francisco Chronicle). Justice is the stunning prequel that illuminates the Hayden clan's early years, and the circumstances that led to the events of Montana 1948. With the precision of a master storyteller, Watson moves seamlessly through the decades and among the strong and hard-bitten characters that make up the Hayden family, and in the process opens an evocative window on the very heart of the American West.
"An engrossing story of love, familial relationships, and secrets . . . re-creates the vivid beauty of Big Sky country." Booklist
"Filled with rugged prose sometimes as biting as a northern plains wind." The Washington Post
"Surprises and scenes of dramatic power punctuate the narrative . . . Throughout, Watson writes with ruthless honesty about his characters' stunted dreams, unpredictable emotions and outbursts of senseless violence, showing once again that he understands not only the West but the untamed hearts that have roamed it." Publishers Weekly (starred review.)

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