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The Sonby Philipp Meyer
Poetic and visual, with stunning prose and startling violence, The Son weaves a multigenerational tapestry beginning with reminisces by Eli McCullough of being captured by the Comanches and living with them. The book spans through his 100-year life and beyond with chapters by his family members in future times. Empire of the Summer Moon by S. C. Gwynne inspired me to read this amazing novel.
Synopses & Reviews
A Globe & Mail 100 Selection
Spring, 1849. Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a band of Comanche storms his Texas homestead and murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to Comanche life, carving out a place as the chief's adopted son and waging war against their enemies, including white men — which complicates 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 nor fully wild, he must fashion a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong — a journey of adventure, tragedy, and grit that reverberates in the lives of his progeny.
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 Eli's great-granddaughter, Jeannie, a woman who must fight hardened rivals to succeed in a man's world. Philipp Meyer deftly explores how Eli's ruthlessness and steely pragmatism transform subsequent generations of McCulloughs. Love, honor, and even 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 McCulloughs must eventually face the consequences of their choices.
Harrowing, panoramic, and vividly drawn, The Son is a masterful achievement from a sublime young talent.
“With its vast scope, The Son makes a viable claim to be a Great American Novel of the sort John Dos Passos and Frank Norris once produced...an extraordinary orchestration of American history." Washington Post
“There is an extravagant quantity of birth, death and bitter passion in Philipp Meyers grand and engrossing Texas saga.” Wall Street Journal
“As bold, ambitious and brutal as its subject: the rise of Texas as seen through the tortured history of one family. At 561 pages, The Son is a demanding read....But by the end, Meyer ties it together and not too neatly. Tougher-than-tough Eli McCullough would respect that.” USA Today
“One of the most solid, unsparing pieces of American historical fiction to come out this century...a brilliant chronicle of Texas...stunning, raw and epic....The Son is vast, brave and, finally, unstoppable.” NPR
“This is the book you want to read this summer....Every facet of Meyer's world — scent and sight and sensation — has weight and heft....Meyer's dream is a nightmare in which blood seeks power. Its also un-put-down-able.” Esquire
“An old-fashioned family saga set against the birth of Texas and the modern West, this is a riveting slow burn of love, power, and a legacy of violence spanning generations. Meyer is a writer of vast ambition and talent, and he has created nothing less than an American epic.” Parade
“A novel that is an epic in the truest sense of the word: massive in scope, replete with transformations in fortune and fate, and drenched in the blood of war.” Huffington Post
“One of those books that remind you how totally absorbing a novel can be...the work of an uncommonly visionary and skillful writer with a superb sense of pacing...a beautiful, violent and frequently heartbreaking book, but it is not without a sense of fun.” Washington Independent Review of Books
“The stuff of Great American Literature. Like all destined classics, Meyers second novel speaks volumes about humanity — our insatiable greed, our inherent frailty, the endless cycle of conquer or be conquered.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Treading on similar ground to James Michener, Larry McMurtry, and Cormac McCarthy, Meyer brings the bloody, racially fraught history of Texas to life. Call it a family saga or an epic, this novel is a violent and harrowing read.” Library Journal
“Sweeping, absorbing epic....An expertly written tale of ancient crimes, with every period detail — and every detail, period — just right.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Meyer's massive Texas saga is perhaps the best Indian captive story ever written...[Meyer's] tale is best compared to Giant. Little Big Man and Lonesome Dove also come to mind...” Booklist (starred review)
“A vivid, unflinching look at the peoples who struggled to conquer Texas, and one another...an aerial view of Texas, in which hidden elements of a huge, breathtaking landscape are suddenly made clear.” Austin Chronicle
“Philipp Meyer offers a tale that spans generations and, in its own way, encapsulates the history of the state itself.” Los Angeles Times
“The greatest things about The Son are its scope and ambition....It's an enveloping, extremely well-wrought, popular novel with passionate convictions about the people, places and battles that it conjures.” New York Times
“By the novel's end, Philipp Meyer has demonstrated that he can write a potboiler of the first rank, aswirl with pulpy pleasures: impossible love affairs, illicit sex, strife between fathers and sons, the unhappiness of the rich, the corruption of power.” New York Times Book Review
“Meyer's tale is vast, volcanic, prodigious in violence, intermittently hard to fathom, not infrequently hard to stomach, and difficult to ignore.” Boston Globe
“Ambitious readers who take their prose seriously should grab a copy of The Son, a stunning work of historical fiction by Philipp Meyer. Scores of critics are gushing over the book calling it epic, one of the best of the year, even an American classic.” CNN Online (Hot Reads for June)
The Son is positioned to seduce readers who swooned for Lonesome Dove and 2011's briskly selling Comanche history, Empire of the Summer Moon. Cleveland Plain Dealer
“The Son is adeptly written, rife with conflict, and richly built on scads of historical detail. Meyer is unflinching in his portrayal of violence and its role in America's bedrock.” Entertainment Weekly
“One of the best books I've ever read....Incredibly ambitious and rich, and it reminds me of Blood Meridian and As I Lay Dying. Faulkner and McCarthy fans should definitely check it out.” Austin American-Statesman
“The Son drives home one hard and fascinating truth about American life: None of us belong here. We just have it on loan until the next civilization comes around.” Dallas Observer
“Mr. Meyer's version of how a white child grows into the culture of a Comanche warrior is so vivid, violent, heartless and tender at the same time that I often put the book down to recover from the scenes, then picked it up, eager to follow the narrative.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Meyer has penned another masterpiece of American fiction. Read it and see if you don't agree.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The Son is a true American original. Meyer describes the Comanche as ‘riding to haul hell out of its shuck.' It's an apt description of how it feels to read this exciting, far-reaching book.” Dayton Daily News
Philipp Meyer, the acclaimed author of American Rust, returns with The Son: an epic of the American West and a multigenerational saga of power, blood, land, and oil that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family, from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the to the oil booms of the 20th century.
Harrowing, panoramic, and deeply evocative, The Son is a fully realized masterwork in the greatest tradition of the American canon — an unforgettable novel that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife-edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.
About the Author
Philipp Meyer is the author of the critically lauded novel American Rust, winner of the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was an Economist Book of the Year, a Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year, and a New York Times Notable Book. He is a graduate of Cornell University and has an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a James Michener Fellow. A native of Baltimore, he now lives mostly in Texas.
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