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Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Writer's Life 9/1 - Far As the Eye Can See

Bored with mysteries, I chose a frontier saga to read. Far As the Eye Can See by Robert Bausch is set in the northern plains, post Civil War. It is a first person odyssey told by a young veteran. Although it is not in standard English, it is eminently readable. The prose and dialogue lend authenticity to the narrative. It is a grim view of humanity. Indians come off only slightly better than whites. The brutality the protagonist and his wards face is stunning. The novel lacks the humor prevalent in Larry McMurtrey's Lonesome Dove, a great epic that captures what settlers faced better than any book I've ever read. Still, Far As the Eye Can See, published in 2014, is notable work. I looked forward to opening it and discovering where it led. Although it almost completely avoids intellectualizing, there are existential overtones. On the next to last page, 297, of the hardcover edition, the beleaguered protagonist ruminates: "...Nobody wants to spend every waking moment looking to be killed or having to kill somebody to keep from getting killed. That's what you would think. But what humans do is just that. All the time... This is what we are, and until we die, it's all we are. A savage animal that can talk." Fortunately, civilization in the modern western world, even Chicago, has eliminated much of that type of violence, which pockets of the planet, most notably the Middle East, still suffer to a disgraceful degree. 110 readers at Amazon have rated the novel, forging to a consensus of 4.5 of five. I say four. Anyone squeamish about violence should pass. Far As the Eye Can See was Bausch's eighth novel. He has also had a short story collection published. He has been awarded the prestigious Dos Passos Prize. His twin, Richard, is also a successful author, and more prolific. Robert's novel, Almighty Me, was adapted to the screen as Bruce Almighty (2003), starring Jim Carrey. He received no credit. I wonder if he was unhappy with the outcome and asked that his name not be included.  

Mother Nature provided a wide, dry window, which allowed the floating book shop to operate today. My thanks to Shelley, who bought Ten Things I Wish I'd Known - Before I Went Out into the Real World by Maria Shriver, and to the young woman who purchased Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates; and to Herbie, who donated another paperback thriller; to Madeline, who donated a self-help book; and to my weekly benefactress, who brought Colleen McCollough's best seller, The Thorn Birds, and nine works of non-fiction, including bios of Mel Torme, Eddie Fisher and Warren Beatty. Some day I may get around to asking her name.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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