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[The Son By Philipp Meyer] Read È Philipp Meyer

Pite the relative brevity the unfilled spaces in the lives of these characters The Son achieves almost perfect balance I thought about these fictional people long after I finished the novel It s ending especially the last lines are haunting There are so many comparisons to be made to other great works If I were being pithy I could say that The Son has a bit of the stark violence of Blood Meridian or In the Rogue Blood the elegiacal tinge of Lonesome Dove and a splash of Dallas as viewed through the prism of the Hatfield and the McCoy sReally though it s a damn fine American novel telling a thoroughly American storyI ve read The Son several times since first cracking the cover and in time I think I might have to change the opening lines of this review In time this might be the great American novel At least if I get the vote Since reading The Son I have been spurred on to read about and explore the life of the Native American bands of the Comanches The Son opened my eyes to a whole culture and civilisation that I had always overlooked but instantly became fascinated by The I have discovered about the Comanches the I have respected The Son and the knock on affect I have felt since reading itCheck out my review for The Son by Philipp Meyer on Grimdark Magazine here Grimdark MagazineThe Son is an epic novel that scales the history of the American west over 3 generations of a family the McCulloughs It is an instant classic a masterpiece and a heartbreaking story that does not shy away from the horrific and honest truth of how America was formed right from its very bones Follow our footprints long enough and they will turn into those of a beast Philip Meyer has written a book that immediately captured all of my attention It follows 3 POVs of the McCullough family Eli born 1836 Peter born 1874 and Jeannette born 1934 After reading Cormac McCarthy s awe inspiring Blood Meridian I have not been able to get enough of the American West and have been on a reading binge focusing on the real old west era Because of this the thread written around Eli McCullough and his story was my main interest but much to my surprise the two interweaving storylines of Peter and Jeanette sparked a need to know everything about them and what happens to them The prose within The Son is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy There are subtle differences in the language and a focus on other aspects of story telling Philip Meyer has crafted his own style and it is completely wonderful If A Radical Approach to the Akashic Records: Master Your Life and Raise Your Vibration you are a fan of Cormac McCarthyou ll be a fan of Meyer His writing has no pride no secrets just brutal honesty and an extremely direct and breathtaking way of writing what happens next to our characters My brother began to cry out in his sleep I started to shake him then stopped There wasn t any dream he could be having that would be as bad as waking up Eli is interweaved throughout all three stories as he is the oldest and basically the Don Corleone character in the Peter and Jeanette sections However Eli s own storyline was my favourite by a long shot even though there are some absolutely horrific scenes in these parts Eli s family are killed by a Comanche tribe when he is a Death March The Zone young boy and they take him captive He then must do all he can to adapt survive and fight the cruel world into which he has been born Peter Eli s son is at war with his father s own fame and power and bears witness to horrors himself that completely misshape his life Jeanette Eli s great granddaughter is a woman who is in a typically man s world who wants to show everyone what she can do and how she is a true McCullough Ifou hate me it is because I have morals The three characters and three timelines were written so well that it was not difficult to follow whatsoever and over 561 pages of this epic story there is plenty of time to invest in all three and understand exactly what is underneath their layers I found myself begging for chapters of their stories depth I might be killed any day by whites or hostile Indians I might be run down by a grizzly or a pack of buffalo wolves but I rarely did anything I didn t feel like doing and maybe this was the main difference between the whites and the Comanches which was the whites were willing to trade all their freedom to live longer and eat better and the Comanches were not willing to trade any of it There is everything for fans of literature here the exhilarating gunfights on the Mexican border the romantic natural but deadly lifestyle of the Comanche Native American s the forbidden love of a rival family member a strong female character who is eual in standing to any Colonel beautiful prose a sweeping plot that lifts The Asian-African Conference, Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955 you fromour feet and drops ou in the saddle of an enthusiastic American Paint Horse There is so so much to like so much to love It instilled a love within me for the Comanche way of life and invoked such sadness when characters I grew fond of died or befell hideous accidents or tragedies It is impossible to believe we are truly in God s image Something of the reptile in us et the caveman s allegiance to the spear A vestige of our time in the swamps And Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day: My Autobiography yet there are those who wish to return Be like the reptile they say Be like the snake lying in wait Of course they do not say snake they say lion but there is little difference in character between the two only in appearance 55 There s a lot of tragedy in this book It is an epic tragedy of the birth of the West of America and the rise and fall of a family changed by new ways of life There is little joy or happiness within The Son but it is an astounding feat of writing You may read it and instantly want to make a bow out of deer sinew and osage woodou may want to experience riding a horse in the dry plains of Texas Representation Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices Culture Media and Identities Series you may want to never dwell on the horrors that The Son highlights You may like me experience all three This is a review that I originally posted in July 2014 For some inexplicable reason it vanished without leaving any explanation Since it is a favorite book of mine I am re posting itPhillipp Meyer s The Son a sprawling multi generational epic set in Texas which is always a good place to locate epics especially the sprawling variety begins with the family patriarch Col Eli McCullough COL ELI MCCULLOUGHMost will be familiar with the date of my birth The Declaration of Independence that bore the Republic of Texas out of Mexican tyranny was ratified March 2 1836 in a humble shack at the edge of the Brazos Half the signatories were malarial the other half had come to Texas to escape a hangman s noose I was the first male child of this new republic He grows up to become one tough hombre He has not only seen it all he has lived it In his lifetime he was a Comanche captive Texas Ranger Confederate colonel cattle baron and oil tycoon Obviously it had to be a long life and it was one hundredears How a oung helpless boy at the mercy of his Comanche captors eventually became a wealthy tyrant wielding almost absolute power is at the heart of the novel PETER MCCULLOUGH My birthday Today without the help of any whiskey I have reached the conclusion I am no one Looking back over my forty five #YEARS I SEE NOTHING WORTHWHILE WHAT I HAD MISTAKEN #I see nothing worthwhile what I had mistaken a soul appears like a black abyss I have allowed others to shape me as they pleased To ask the Colonel I am the worst son he has ever had Ron Charles perfectly characterizes Peter in his review in the Washington Post as a prairie Hamlet among the Texas Medicis There is no way that the son can possibly surpass the father when it comes to achievements or does he even want to Instead he is the novel s conscience and critic He deplores his father s status as a giant in the land but most of all he hates how his father has achieved that status and the harsh measures he resorts to in order to maintain it There is no reward for such views In fact most people see him as a weak man and that includes his fatherJEANNE ANNE MCCULLOUGHIf she were a better person she would not leave her family a dime a few million maybe something to pay for college or if they got sick She had grown up knowing that if a drought went on another ear or the ticks got worse or the flies if any single thing went wrong the family would not eat Of course they had oil by then it was an illusion But her father had acted as if it was true and she had believed it and so it was even as a child she d been mostly alone Her family had owned the town People made no sense to her Men with whom she had everything in common did not want her around Women with whom she had nothing in common smiled too much laughed too loud and mostly reminded her of small dogs their lives lost in interior decorating and other peoples outfits There had never been a place for a person like herIf the Colonel had a soul mate it was his great granddaughter Jeanne Anne He had no respect and little love for his son Peter or his grandson Charles who was Jeanne Anne s father However he doted on Jeanne Anne and she who never knew her grandfather and also had little respect for her father returned her great grandfather s affectionAs far as the Colonel was concerned Peter was too soft and idealistic and in his own way so was Charles who was too tied to cattle and the land The Colonel understood that down through the ages through war and conuest the land had been won and lost many times and he believed that it was subject to occurring again that historical progress was a matter of destroying what had come before Therefore one should extract what one could from the land while one could Charles wanted only to be a cattleman but cattle ranching was a losing proposition The Colonel s solution and Jeanne Anne s was to drill drill for oilDespite his capture as a boy by the Comanches and their initial cruel treatment of him the Colonel learned not only to respect them but also to view them as family They were practically the only people that he held in esteemHe viewed the poor Mexicans of the area as people whose labor was to be exploited But he also believed that the prosperous Mexicans who owned land were to be exploited as well He believed that their time had passed and he viewed their property as fair game for the taking and he took His opinion of most of The Whites In The Area Wasn T Much Higher Either whites in the area wasn t much higher either one exception He had good things to say about the German settlers living around the town of FredericksburgBefore the Germans came it was thought impossible to make butter in a southern climate It was also thought impossible to grow wheat A slave economy does that to the human mind but the Germans who had not been told otherwise arrived and began churning first rate butter and raising heavy crops of the noble cereal which they sold to their dumbfounded neighbors at a high profit Your German had no allergy to work which was conspicuous when Wicked Affairs p 2 you looked at his possessions If upon passing some fieldou noticed the soil was level and the rows straight the land belonged to a German If the field was full of rocks if the rows appeared to have been laid by a blind Indian if it was December and the cotton had not been picked Jane of Gowlands you knew the land was owned by one of the local whites who had drifted over from Tennessee and hoped that the bounties of Dame Nature would by some witcheryield him up a slave. Eny Intertwined with Eli's story are those of his son Peter a man who bears the emotional cost of his father's drive for power and JA Eli's great granddaughter a woman who must fight hardened rivals to succeed in a man's worldPhillipp Meyer deftly explores how Eli's ruthlessness and steely pragmatism transform subseuent generations of McCulloughs Love honor children are sacrificed in the name of ambition as the family becomes one of the richest powers in Texas a ranching and oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege Yet like all empires the McCoulloughs must eventually face the conseuences of their choicesHarrowing panoramic and vividly drawn The Son is a masterful achievement from a sublime The Piper in the Wind young talen. I m really dumbfounded what happened here A cursory glance at this and I d expect this to rank high on an all time list it s a huge sweeping multigenerational epic covering huge swaths of American history it s a postmodern tale of the American West replete with blood lust scalp hungry marauding Indians vigilante ranchers and oil barons It s socially and politically subversive in that it both challenges how frontiersmen confronted race and privilege as well as exposing America s less than honorable methods of procuring land and fulfilling Manifest DestinySo much potential While the bones of the story kept me reading the writing felt hackneyed lacking elegance lacking rhythm and lacking a distinct voice The whole of the novel told the reader the story rather than showing In my experience novelists that tackle the American West should have the reuisite rhythm to mirror the subject And perhaps that is expecting a bit much but the lack thereof made reading this almost a chore And while it was clear Meyer did his research not all of said research was completely seamlessly integrated I say that because I noticed he did his research rather than it simply buoying the story Starts impressively but overall feels too deliberate too polished too forcibly epic Weird proofreading errors in several places The narrative frame collapses about a third of the way through just utterly The most compelling sections are those from Peter McCullough s diaries He is by far the moral compass of this novel and the most well drawn character At times the book reads like a history textbook Absolutely grating Too much of the writer inserting himself in the prose at times The ending is rushed Ifou re going to write an epic write an epic Jeannie as the woman out of place and time is so clich d spouting everything The Proposal you would expect a woman who doesn t fit in with women or men to say A total missed opportunity The women are mostly narrow and essentially serve as sexual vessels in one form or another This is a man s book for sure and I get what the overall project is here re creation myths and the American west and so on It s a good Western It is not the book of theearDon t get me wrong Meyer is very talented but this book is not nearly as good as the buzz suggests And I m probably wrong on this and it s just me but ugh not my cup of tea I feel likeI d rather read Michener Remember that he sad None of it s worth a shit until Prey you putour name on it Philipp Meyer The Son There are certain rare novels that capture the art heart and action of both American fiction and history The Son is one of those historical novels that can absolutely propel the reader Its narrative strength however is eualed by its detail and its multi generational epic arc The Son captures the tension between land and people the contest between people and people the struggle between fathers and sons The Son is the history of Texas and the West told through three generations of Texans Eli McCullough born 1836 the Addicted to Womanhood Book One year Texas became a Republicthesis his son Peter born 1870antithesis and Peter s granddaughter Jeanne Anne born 1926synthesisThis is a novel that is a pure descendant of Melville Faulkner Cather and McCarthy perhaps not uite up to their snuff but a valiant effort These authors set the stage that allowed Meyer to car I don t have to tellou what this land used to look like he said And ou don t have to tell me that I am A great read for me I could hardly put it down Everything is big in Texas and in this saga a family line gets big in alignment with a big history Luckily it doesn t do a Michener of trying to cover a vast epoch using a huge cast Meyer sticks stays mostly with three fascinating and complex characters of three different generations of the McCulloch family spanning about a century and a half The frontispiece contains the lineage for the three patriarch Eli his son Peter and great granddaughter Jeannie whose alternating voices spin out the tale The period for Eli covers from the time of early Anglo and German immigrant pioneers to a south Texas border zone between the Nueces Rio Grande Rivers the transition from open range cattlemen to fenced ranching a and larger wave of settlement stimulated by the rise of railroads I will reveal nothing than to say that Eli s development is bound up with his early experiences with the Comanches a wandering and dangerous life with the Texas Rangers and struggles to build a ranching empire after the Civil War which together makes a substantial and enthralling part of this book Eli and Peter are both marked from events surrounding the brutal competition for land and dominion between the new settlers and Spanish families in residence for a century or But they are shaped in opposite ways Eli sees himself part of the primeval trend that is well captured by the theme in Mitchell s Cloud Atlas The weak are meat the strong do eat while Peter seeks to walk the walk of peace and tolerance From the first pages Eli the Colonel is reflecting back from age 100 so we know he thrived while by page two we know that somewhere along the line Peter has disappeared Eli s outlook is steeped in the harshness of a dog eat dog world The Spanish had been in Texas hundreds of ears but nothing had come of it The Lipan Apaches stopped the old hundreds of Once is Never Enough years but nothing had come of it The Lipan Apaches stopped the old in their tracks Then came the Comanche The earth had seen nothing like it since the Mongones they drove the Apaches into the sea destroyed the Spanish army turned Mexico into a slave market The Comanche philosophy toward outsiders was nearly papal in its thoroughness torture and kill the men rape and kill the women take the children for slaves or adoptionStill he disarms us with his irreverent humor The thing about preachers is if they ain t sparkinour daughters or eatin all the fried chicken and pie in Successful Employee Communications your icebox they re cheatinour son on horses Also in the first pages the voice Jeannie appears also reflecting back from old age 86 many ears later As a tomboy in love with the ranch and land she admired ancient Eli above all In Sunday school as a girl she recalls When she asked the teacher what would happen to the Colonel the teacher said he was going to hell where he would be tortured by Satan himself In that case I am going with him Jennie said She was a disgraceful little scamp She would have been whipped if she were MexicanWhere the privileged sons of the family wander away from home base Jeannie fulfills the mission of Eli to grow the family wealth by becoming an oil tycoon Though she is not a warm person we root for her to succeed at this man s game While in Jeannie s first section her disappeared grandfather Peter is not anyone she thinks about no one had anything good to say about him Peter s story from his journals makes him the moral compass of the saga He bears the sins of the fathers and in response he transgresses the rules of the culture He goes along with his father in the first steps to convert the ranch to oil production but his heart isn t into dynasties His despairs of human destructiveness The entire earth it seems is being slowly transformed into a desert mankind will die off and something new will replace it There is no reason that there should only be one human race I was likely born a thousand ears too early or ten thousand One day those like my father will seem like the Romans who fed Christians to the lions What we need is another great ice to come and sweep us into the ocean To give God a second chanceThese three voices were incredibly real for me revealing characters of mythic proportions but achingly real Most of all I appreciated the sense of place evoked in the story I lived for a time in the Hill Country of Texas which ends just to the north and east of this sparsely populated area of dry grassland Dimmit County Thus I could relate to the flora and fauna such as the cottonwoods and live oaks the hawks and vultures I miss those vistas beneath the big sky that makes My Life with Princess Margaret you feel small and large at the same time How does one make a mark of the history of a place so big and how does one emerge from a history that marksou with terrible sacrifices Jeannie despite all her successes can t help feeling alone and small The Un amor fora ciutat year Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas she reflects that it had not surprised her Theear he died there were still living Texans who had seen their parents scalped by Indians The land was thirsty Something primitive still in it I was moved to experience how her outlook comes to be a hybrid of her forbears Eli And Peter A Man Peter A man life it was barely worth mentioning The Visigoths had destroyed the Romans and had themselves been destroyed by the Muslims Who were destroyed by the Spanish and Portuguese You do not need Hitler to see that it was not a pleasant story And Blue Murder yet here she was Breathing having these thoughts The blood that ran through history would fill every river and ocean but despite all the butchery hereou were Even if God existed to say he loved the human race was preposterous It was just as likely the opposite The strong took from the weak only the weak believed otherwise and if God was out there he was opposite The strong took from the weak only the weak believed otherwise and if God was out there he was as the Greeks and Romans suspected a trickster an older brother who spent all his time inventing ways to punish Pilgrimage in Medieval Scotland: (Historic Scotland Series) youAsou can tell I highly recommend this book It gave me some of the same pleasures of life s triumphs and losses against the backdrop of history of the American West as McMurtry s Lonesome Dove I had loved Meyer s American Rust when I read it during a holiday in Pennsylvania a couple of Mark Twain A Life years back a trip to Texas last week seemed like a good excuse to read his follow up which showed every sign of being a culmination of his many talents The Son is a sprawling multigenerational family tale not a million miles away from the kind of AGA saga that people like Joanna Trollope have been writing forears though because the author is male and American the book w HOW THE WEST SOUTHWEST WAS WON OVERRUN On the ranch they had found points from both the Clovis and the Folsom For the eight thousand The earth; an introduction to physical geology years between Folsom and the Spanish no one knew what happened there had been people here the whole time but no one knew what they were called Though right before the Spanish came there were the Mogollan and when the Spanish came there were the Suma Jumano Manso La Junta Concho and Chisos and Toboso Ocana and Cacaxtle the Coahuiltecans Comecrudobut whether they had wiped out the Mogollon or were descended from them no one knew They were all wiped out by the Apache Who were in turn wiped out in Texas anyway by the Comanche Who were in turn wiped out by the Americans A man a life it was barely worth mentioning The Visigoths had destroyed the Romans and themselves been destroyed by the Muslims Who were destroyed by the Spanish and Portuguese You did not need Hitler to see that it was not a pleasant story Andet here she was Breathing having these thoughts The blood that ran through history would fill every river and ocean but despite all the butchery here KREBS und alle sog. Krankheiten Kurze Einfuhung in die GERMANISCHE NEUE MEDIZIN you were The Son is a magnificent family saga covering two hundredears of Texan but significantly American history Do not be fooled into thinking this is just a book about the Longhorn state In the same way that Billy Lynn s Long Half Time Walk also set in. The acclaimed author of American Rust returns with The Son an epic multigenerational saga of power blood and land that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the border raids of the early 1900s to the oil booms of the 20th centuryPart epic of Texas part classic coming of age story part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claimSpring 1849 The first male child born in the newly established Republic of Texas Eli McCullough is thirteen ears old when a mar. ,


Texas took a specific day to stand for an entire period The Son takes a much larger swath but remains a stand in for the nation as a whole A ranching and oil dynasty rises in parallel with the USA rising as a global power Items covered include the settlement of Texas by Americans Indian Wars sometimes from the perspective of the Indians The Civil War WW I WW II the Depression Economic shifts rise of oil in international importance significance of corruption in government impact of increasing difficulty of drilling in the USA and rise of the Middle East as the world s major source of oil including some economic intrigue involving the use of insider information The misuse of the land is raised as is the complicated relationships between residents of Mexico Texas and some who traveled both sides of the border Meyer splits the task of looking at different times in American history among three members of the McCullough dynasty Eli McCullough is the patriarch of this clan born not on the Fourth of July but on the Second of March 1836 otherwise known as Texas Independence Day He is literally the first Texan Well as with the US Declaration of Independence it was not completely Ok d until the next day but who s counting and is as large a character as the state itself We meet him when he is 100 ears old in 1936 looking back on his life and times a la Jack Crabb in Thomas Berger s Little Big Man and some bloody times they were Early settlers into what was still Mexico overwhelming the locals with numbers and guns Bloodshed aplenty as a new population displaces current residents whether Mexican citizens or one of the many Indian tribes in the area Eli is captured by a Comanche raiding party that kills and abuses most of his family Later he becomes a Texas Ranger as a substitute for criminal prosecution making the Rangers remind one of the French Foreign Legion The second perspective is that of Jeanne Anne McCullough Eli s great granddaughter We meet her at age 86 injured on the floor of her home in 2012 and are treated to her recollections as well She is the primary female character here a crusty old bird who is also shown in softer light earlier in her life But while softer Jeanne was still tough even as a kid eager to cowgirl up take on tasks usually reserved for men and was unable and unwilling to adapt to the very different expectations of northeastern refinery Adaptation and recognizing change seeing the truth in front of her or not figures in her journey She will use ill gotten knowledge for personal gain some dayFinally there is Peter born in 1870 one of Eli s sons and Jeanne s grandfather Peter is the superego to Eli s id He struggles with what he sees as excessive violence in which his father revels and tries as best he can to act in a moral way I found Peter s character to be the most real of the three Constantly having to manage moral as well as physical conflict He is the romantic of the crew You will love himWe see all three come of age in very different ways Eli is taken captive by raiding Comanches as a thirteen The Hollow Crown year old view spoilerbut over an extended period relying on his courage and uick wits he learns the rules and the ways of the tribe coming to see many things from their perspective and becomes a respected leader We get to see him again struggling to adapt to white society while still a teen hide spoiler A man a life it was barely worth mentioning The Visigoths had destroyed the Romans and themselves been destroyed by the Muslims Who were destroyed by the Spanish and the PortugueseIt was not a pleasant story Andet here she was breathing having these thoughts The blood that ran through history would fill every river and ocean but despite all the butchery here ou were Phillip Meyer The SonThere s no way I m going to call this the great American novel I would have to define what that meant and I d have to support it and then I d have to argue with everyone trying to convince me of Moby Dick s essential worth No we ll leave that to the English majors of the world Even if there is such a thing that to the English majors of the world Even if there is such a thing the great American novel Philipp Meyer s The Son would not grab that ring That reuires the test of time It is however an instant classic More specifically it is a great American novel Stress the American Its themes and tropes are uintessentially American part captivity narrative part conueror s arc part rags to riches The main characters the scion of the McCullough dynasty and his heirs embody the American character both mythological and real courageous self reliant industrious violent moralizing hypocritical and endlessly rationalizing It s the story of how America came to be as well as the story of how Americans came to see ourselves Also it s beautifully written and gloriously fun to read Things that are also important in a classic Or so I tried to convince my English teachers to no avail The Son chiefly follows three members of the McCullough family Eli McCullough a famed Texas Ranger turned rancher turned oil man his son Peter who struggles in his father s violent shadow and Jeannie Eli s great granddaughter who shares many traits with Eli despite a different gender and time period The stories of each of these characters is told in chapters devoted solely to them The individual chapters unfold chronologically following their own arc but the timeline as a whole twines in and out That is Eli s chapters which run from the 1830s to the 1860s are interspersed with Peter s chapters which mostly takes place in 1917 and Jeannie s which ranges from 1926 to the 1980s There is overlap of course such as when Eli shows up in Peter s chapters But even when that happens it is peripheral since the chapters stick close to their chosen character Each of these character chapters are told in a different style Eli s story is told in the first person from the point of view of an aged Eli giving a recording for the WPA Peter s tale unfolds as a series of diary entries Jeannie s chapters are presented in the third person limited perspective when we first meet her she is an old woman who has fallen on the floor and can t get up As she lays there she looks back on the momentous events of her life The conceit for Eli s and Peter s stories are kind of ridiculous I doubt that Eli a staunch opponent of Franklin Roosevelt would have deigned to participate in a program that was one of the centerpieces of the New Deal Even if he had he wouldn t have gone into the murderous detail that he does The same with Peter and his diary Does anyone write long pages of dialogue in their diaries No of course not Still this novel is so good that I forgive it s somewhat silly storytelling mechanisms Of the three separate plotlines Eli s is the most vivid and gripping It begins in 1849 on the eve of a sudden Comanche raid on his family s homestead The lead up to the massacre is as tense and unforgettable as anything in The Searchers The massacre itself is a terrifying explosion of violence that is masterfully effective in mixing the graphic with the discreet Most of the Indians were standing looking at something on the ground There was a white leg crooked in the air and a man s bare ass and buckskin leggings on top I realized it was my mother and by the way the man was moving and the bells on his legs were jingling I knew what he was doing to her After awhile he stood up and retied his breechcloth Another jumped right into place I had just gotten to my feet when my ears started ringing and the ground came up and I thought I was dead for certainA while later I heard noises again I could see the second group of Indians a little farther down the fence but now I could hear my sister s voice whimpering The Indians were doing the same to her as my motherYoung Eli is taken captive by the Comanche Eventually he is adopted into the tribe taking uickly to their way of life Slowly the Comanche who first appear as shadows and demons during their midnight raid are revealed as people Eli s adoptive father Toshaway is far important to Eli than his biological father ever was Eli S Time With The Comanche Is This Novel S Great time with the Comanche is this novel s great The research that went into the evocation of their vanished way of life is amazing I wish Meyer had included a bibliography or at least a mention of the books he used Just as great an accomplishment are his Comanche characters In a book that doesn t have a lot of space to devote to secondary characters Toshaway Nuukaru and Escute make lasting impressions Their profane dialogue studded with f words and detailed sexual banter sounds a bit anachronistic But it also sounds like the way friends talk amongst themselves Instead of Indian characters who are either inhuman savages or noble gamekeepers the Dances With Wolves dichotomy speaking with a stilted passive voiced oratorical style ou get Indian characters who are simply human It bears repeating I absolutely loved every part of Eli s interactions with Toshaway Nuukaru and Escute It is impressive writing More than that it is refreshing especially given the treatment of the Comanche in even modern histories For example SC Gwynn in Empire of the Summer Moon describes them in near barbarous terms conjuring an image of Stone Age cave dwellers with only lower order functioning Everything about Eli s early story is essential dealing as it does with the thin line between life and death Against this fundamental drama the Peter and Jeannie chapters necessarily suffer by comparison Of the two I enjoyed Jeannie s storyline the best It took awhile for me to become invested but Meyer ultimately provides her with two or three or four beautiful vignettes that efficiently and effectively describe the course of her life Especially memorable is Jeannie s short lived time at an Eastern prep school There a Texas ranch girl among preppy bluebloods Jeannie undergoes a less violent mirror twinned version of her great grandfather s captivity Peter s story worked the least The reason I suppose is that Peter is saddled with the weight of being the moral compass of the McCullough family This makes him a good guy but also a wet blanket His chapters take place during a time of high tension on the Tex Mex border when America almost went to war with Mexico He is witness to a brutal confrontation between his family and a neighboring ranch owned by a man named Pedro Garcia The climax to this neighborly suabble ultimately defines the brooding philosophical minded Peter About half way through The Son I began to wonder if Meyer hadn t shot his bolt early on Eli s opening act the massacre of his family his captivity his transformation into the Comanche warrior Tiehteti are so vital and breathless that they couldn t possibly be sustained However despite a drop in dramatic urgency the novel itself never falters The three interweaving plot threads all inform each other in one chapter a character is alive and oung in the next he or she might be old or a ghost but still resonating There is an incredible cumulative effect created by Meyer s framework The Son weighs in at around 550 pages Not short but certainly not terribly long either Especially not for a canvas this large Meyer s creations could easily have expanded into a book the size of War and Peace and I would have gladly read every page Des. Auding band of Comanche storm his homestead and brutally murder his mother and sister taking him captive Brave and clever Eli uickly adapts to Comanche life learning their ways and language answering to a new name carving a place as the chief's adopted son and waging war against their enemies including white men complicating his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is But when disease starvation and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe Eli finds himself alone Neither white nor Indian civilized or fully wild he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong a journey of adventure tragedy hardship grit and luck that reverberates in the lives of his prog. ,
The Son By Philipp Meyer

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