An American Library Association Notable Book In discrete disclosures joined with the intricacy of a spider's web, James Galvin depicts the hundred-year history of a meadow in the arid mountains of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Galvin describes the seasons, the weather, the wildlife, and the few people who do not possess but are themselves possessed by this terrain. In so doing he reveals an experience that is part of our heritage and mythology. For Lyle, Ray, Clara, and App, the struggle to survive on an independent family ranch is a series of blameless failures and unacclaimed successes that illuminate the Western character.The Meadow evokes a sense of place that can be achieved only by someone who knows it intimately.
The Meadow is spellbinding: a beautiful and timeless tribute to the American West and its people. That Galvin is a poet will not surprise, given the gorgeous prose. Highly, highly recommended.
"He takes a deep drag and looks down past the springhouse nested in the orange willow branches. Up over the opposing hill he sees the snow on the mountains west of Laramie. Another breath of wind comes up and starts the aspens chattering like nervous girls, and they catch the last low-angling rays of sun and flare. The dark tops of evergreens are red, almost bloody, and for a good thirty seconds he knows the world is something altogether other than what it appears to be." (121)
"A masterpiece. The Meadow is one of the best books ever written about the American West" - William Kittredge
I loved this book, written by a poet and about, not so much the high-mountain meadow on the Colorado/Wyoming border, but the people who lived and attempted to live on it. I will miss App and Ray and Lyle, and even Clara, whom I would have liked to have gotten to know better but I realize this wasn't her story. A mix of memoir, fiction and natural history, it begs to be reread as I'm sorry it ended so soon.
Told from the point of view of a younger man who does not seem to be from one of the original settler families but works with the older men and here reports what he's learned of them.