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Five Skies: A Novel

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Five Skies: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780670038503
ISBN10: 0670038504
Condition: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Carlson's focus is transporting, absorbing. It shakes you from stupor, strips you down. He understands that most of us live in a world of enervating crap....And Five Skies offers a longed-for blueprint of the antidote....We agree when Carlson describes civilization as 'a hundred layers of ten thousand decisions, only a few of them even interesting.' The men leave Five Skies the better for it. So do we." Alison Glock, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Award-winning short story writer Ron Carlson delivers a stirring novel about three men confronting their pasts and their purpose.

Beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in thirty years, Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho. Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force.

A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year.

Review:

"Two stoics and a teenage misanthrope are brought together in Idaho's Rocky Mountains to build a ramp to nowhere in Carlson's first novel in 25 years, a tour de force of grief, atonement and the cost of loyalty. Darwin Gallegos, spiritually bereft after the sudden death of his wife, is hired for one last job at Rio Difficulto, the sprawling ranch where he had lived and worked for years. The job: construct a motorcycle ramp that will launch a daredevil across a gorge (the event is to be taped and bring in a pile of money). Darwin hires for the job drifters Arthur Key, a large and quiet man hiding from his recent past, and Ronnie Panelli, a wiry teenager on the lam from minor criminal mischief. As the men work from late spring through summer, their wounds come slowly to light: the seething fury that took root in Darwin after his wife died; Arthur's career as the go-to Hollywood stunt engineer that he abandoned after betraying his guileless brother; and Ronnie's short lifetime of failure, atoned for as he learns the carpentry trade. Carlson writes with uncommon precision, and this return to long-form fiction after four well-received story collections is stunning." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"What is the main element of fiction aimed primarily at men? It's certainly not love. In such traditionally masculine genres as private eye mysteries, techno-thrillers, paperback adventure novels, westerns and 'hard' science fiction, there is one common theme: 'Men at Work.' These are all books about guys going about their jobs and doing them well, despite personal sorrows or enemy action. After all,... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"[A] note-perfect novel that will challenge and reward all who care about literary fiction." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A thinking man's novel, containing all the rugged elements of Western allure." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Five Skies is multilayered, rich with metaphors, which some may interpret biblically; either way, readers will find Carlson's experiences on the page to be both moving and illuminating." St. Petersburg Times

Review:

"With a discerning feel for the connection between place and character, Carlson gradually reveals what makes each man tick and his relationship to the others as they work side by side over a single summer. Five Skies is a haunting tale of loss and redemption." Denver Post

Review:

"A beautiful novel, as unique and insular as the quiet and powerful landscape it inhabits, and as braided with hope and despair, and hope again, as are the lives of the three men at its center." Rick Bass

Review:

"In Five Skies Ron Carlson has fashioned such a moving and elemental meditation on every man's struggle toward family, toward the embrace of his individual soul, that, by its end, I found my appreciation for both grief and redemption to be profoundly altered. Here is a fine and gracefully rendered novel." Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life

Review:

"Five Skies is a novel written with feeling by an obvious pro. I wish, however, that Carlson had allowed his readers a few dramatic thrills." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"[A] novel of exquisite richness and pared-down elegance, in which few words are wasted but volumes of wisdom are conveyed." BookReporter.com

Review:

"This is a simply told, quietly moving tale yet one that, in its use of time, nature, and the seasonal round, carries an archetypal resonance. Recommended." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Award-winning short story writer Carlson's first novel in 30 years delivers a stirring tale about three men confronting their pasts and their purpose.

Synopsis:

From a widely admired author, a poignant novel about homecoming, friendship, growing up, and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo

In this finely wrought portrait of western American life, Ron Carlson takes us to the small town of Oakpine, Wyoming, and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the world.

In high school, these men were in a band. One of them, Jimmy, left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother. A successful novelist, he has returned thirty years later, in 1999—because he is dying.

With Carlson’s characteristic grace, we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives. Craig and Frank never left; Mason, a top lawyer in Denver, is back in town to fix up and sell his parents’ house. Now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do.

Return to Oakpine is a generous, tender look at friendship, family, and the roads not taken, by a writer at the peak of his craft.

Synopsis:

From a widely admired author, a poignant novel about homecoming, friendship, growing up, and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo

In this finely wrought portrait of western American life, Ron Carlson takes us to the small town of Oakpine, Wyoming, and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the world.

In high school, these men were in a band. One of them, Jimmy, left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother. A successful novelist, he has returned thirty years later, in 1999—because he is dying.

With Carlson’s characteristic grace, we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives. Craig and Frank never left; Mason, a top lawyer in Denver, is back in town to fix up and sell his parents’ house. Now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do.

Return to Oakpine is a generous, tender look at friendship, family, and the roads not taken, by a writer at the peak of his craft.

About the Author

Ron Carlson is the award-winning author of four story collections, including At the Jim Bridger and The Hotel Eden, two novels, and a young adult novel. His stories appear regularly in Harper's, The New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Playboy, The Best American Short Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. He is the director of the MFA creative writing program at the University of California, Irvine.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Holly Winfree, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Holly Winfree)
The descriptions of Idaho transported me to the lean high desert. The story was spare and beautifully told. I highly recommend this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
kaahumanu, July 11, 2008 (view all comments by kaahumanu)
The author, Ron Carlson, is the director of the graduate writing program at UC, Irvine in California. 'Five Skies' is an elegant look into the hearts of three damaged men. I am making this a selection for my book discussion group, I hope someone will explain the ending to me. 'Five Skies' will give us much to discuss.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670038503
Author:
Carlson, Ron
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Men's Adventure
Subject:
Idaho
Subject:
Male friendship
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Adventure
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080429
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Adventure

Five Skies: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Viking Books - English 9780670038503 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Two stoics and a teenage misanthrope are brought together in Idaho's Rocky Mountains to build a ramp to nowhere in Carlson's first novel in 25 years, a tour de force of grief, atonement and the cost of loyalty. Darwin Gallegos, spiritually bereft after the sudden death of his wife, is hired for one last job at Rio Difficulto, the sprawling ranch where he had lived and worked for years. The job: construct a motorcycle ramp that will launch a daredevil across a gorge (the event is to be taped and bring in a pile of money). Darwin hires for the job drifters Arthur Key, a large and quiet man hiding from his recent past, and Ronnie Panelli, a wiry teenager on the lam from minor criminal mischief. As the men work from late spring through summer, their wounds come slowly to light: the seething fury that took root in Darwin after his wife died; Arthur's career as the go-to Hollywood stunt engineer that he abandoned after betraying his guileless brother; and Ronnie's short lifetime of failure, atoned for as he learns the carpentry trade. Carlson writes with uncommon precision, and this return to long-form fiction after four well-received story collections is stunning." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Carlson's focus is transporting, absorbing. It shakes you from stupor, strips you down. He understands that most of us live in a world of enervating crap....And Five Skies offers a longed-for blueprint of the antidote....We agree when Carlson describes civilization as 'a hundred layers of ten thousand decisions, only a few of them even interesting.' The men leave Five Skies the better for it. So do we." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "[A] note-perfect novel that will challenge and reward all who care about literary fiction."
"Review" by , "A thinking man's novel, containing all the rugged elements of Western allure."
"Review" by , "Five Skies is multilayered, rich with metaphors, which some may interpret biblically; either way, readers will find Carlson's experiences on the page to be both moving and illuminating."
"Review" by , "With a discerning feel for the connection between place and character, Carlson gradually reveals what makes each man tick and his relationship to the others as they work side by side over a single summer. Five Skies is a haunting tale of loss and redemption."
"Review" by , "A beautiful novel, as unique and insular as the quiet and powerful landscape it inhabits, and as braided with hope and despair, and hope again, as are the lives of the three men at its center."
"Review" by , "In Five Skies Ron Carlson has fashioned such a moving and elemental meditation on every man's struggle toward family, toward the embrace of his individual soul, that, by its end, I found my appreciation for both grief and redemption to be profoundly altered. Here is a fine and gracefully rendered novel."
"Review" by , "Five Skies is a novel written with feeling by an obvious pro. I wish, however, that Carlson had allowed his readers a few dramatic thrills."
"Review" by , "[A] novel of exquisite richness and pared-down elegance, in which few words are wasted but volumes of wisdom are conveyed."
"Review" by , "This is a simply told, quietly moving tale yet one that, in its use of time, nature, and the seasonal round, carries an archetypal resonance. Recommended."
"Synopsis" by , Award-winning short story writer Carlson's first novel in 30 years delivers a stirring tale about three men confronting their pasts and their purpose.
"Synopsis" by ,
From a widely admired author, a poignant novel about homecoming, friendship, growing up, and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo

In this finely wrought portrait of western American life, Ron Carlson takes us to the small town of Oakpine, Wyoming, and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the world.

In high school, these men were in a band. One of them, Jimmy, left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother. A successful novelist, he has returned thirty years later, in 1999—because he is dying.

With Carlson’s characteristic grace, we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives. Craig and Frank never left; Mason, a top lawyer in Denver, is back in town to fix up and sell his parents’ house. Now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do.

Return to Oakpine is a generous, tender look at friendship, family, and the roads not taken, by a writer at the peak of his craft.

"Synopsis" by ,
From a widely admired author, a poignant novel about homecoming, friendship, growing up, and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo

In this finely wrought portrait of western American life, Ron Carlson takes us to the small town of Oakpine, Wyoming, and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the world.

In high school, these men were in a band. One of them, Jimmy, left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother. A successful novelist, he has returned thirty years later, in 1999—because he is dying.

With Carlson’s characteristic grace, we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives. Craig and Frank never left; Mason, a top lawyer in Denver, is back in town to fix up and sell his parents’ house. Now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do.

Return to Oakpine is a generous, tender look at friendship, family, and the roads not taken, by a writer at the peak of his craft.

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