In the late 1960s Lyman Ward, a crippled history professor abandoned by his wife some years before, researches and recreates the life of his grandparents, particularly his grandmother Susan Burling Ward, a commercial artist and writer who came from New England with her engineer husband Oliver in the 1870s and 1880s to live and raise a family in rough mining towns in Colorado, Mexico, Idaho, and California. Her life fills most of the book. Hopes repeatedly spring up and die; marriages founder and are patched together; loyalty, friendship, and trust are severely tested -- and the land colors all. This rich, thoughtful, and wise 1971 novel, authored by the man who taught Kesey, McMurtry, Stone, Abbey, and many other "Western writers," won the Pulitzer.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus