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Montana 1948 (1993)

by Larry Watson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3956610,151 (3.87)365
"From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them... " So begins David Hayden's story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David's understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David's uncle Frank, a war heroand respected doctor; and the Haydens' Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, whose revelations turn the family's life upside down as she relates how Frank has been molesting his female Indian patients. As their story unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between family loyalty and justice.… (more)
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» See also 365 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Montana 1948 delivers a powerful story with memorable characters that could have been enhanced if the thoughts and perspective of
Marie Little Soldier had also been a focus.

It would also have been welcome to understand:

1. why the Sheriff did not take the Doctor immediately to jail after his hideous confession
and
2, why David would take a chance on hurting his father all over again by allowing his (dim? oblivious? uncaring? blunt?) wife to proceed
with her stupid direction of questioning. ( )
  m.belljackson | Apr 10, 2021 |
The core of the story - the ugly, dark, disgusting core of the story - is the question of whether or not Uncle Frank is molesting Native-American girls in his role as a doctor. And the narrator, his nephew, is the one who tells us this tale, and reaches the end of his childhood along the way.

It is an extremely well written story, with great sadness, loss, and pain. It's a short book, with a powerful punch to the gut. Especially that last paragraph. Wow.

This is the second tale I've read by Larry Watson, and I think I've become a fan. But I may have to recharge a bit before I tackle another one. Woo whee. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Apr 6, 2021 |
I read MONTANA 1948 more than twenty years ago, when it was a new book at the local library. So long ago I'd forgotten most of it. But I just read Larry Watson's newest novel, THE LIVES OF EDIE PRITCHARD, and it began with some events in Bentrock, which caused me to remember some of this one, but not enough. So I just reread it. It's a novella, really, at less than 200 pages, but since its initial publication in 1993, MONTANA 1948 has achieved the status of a western classic. I'd put it up there with the work of A.B. Guthrie and Wallace Stegner - it's that good. And it's a coming of age story that brings to mind other classics like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. David Hayden is a unique voice, and the tragic story he tells of his parents, a much-admired uncle and a young Indian woman that fateful year in northern Montana is a chiller that will not let you put the book down. I read it all in just a couple of sittings. It is a book that stands the test of time and deserves to be read and read again. My very highest recommendation.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | May 25, 2020 |
A coming of age story that lacks any levity. It is quite a story, and I read it in one day, but there is no humor in it, the boy grows up too fast, involved in circumstances beyond his control... well.. except when he was told to leave the room, he'd did do a great deal of eavesdropping on the adult conversations. ( )
  RobertaLea | May 24, 2020 |
Another 4.5. Beautiful, taut prose. I felt Uncle Frank was the least well-sketched character, but for the most part this is an excellent novella. ( )
  ChristopherSwann | May 15, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Watson, Larryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bridges, BeauReadermain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helmond, Joop vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huddle, DavidAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Péguillan, BertrandTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosenman, JaneEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them . . . .
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. . . I realized that these strange, unthought-of connections -- sex and death, lust and violence, desire and degradation -- are there, there, deep in even a good heart’s chambers. (p. 82)
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"From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them... " So begins David Hayden's story of what happened in Montana in 1948. The events of that cataclysmic summer permanently alter twelve-year-old David's understanding of his family: his father, a small-town sheriff; his remarkably strong mother; David's uncle Frank, a war heroand respected doctor; and the Haydens' Sioux housekeeper, Marie Little Soldier, whose revelations turn the family's life upside down as she relates how Frank has been molesting his female Indian patients. As their story unravels around David, he learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power is abused, and that sometimes one has to choose between family loyalty and justice.

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