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Trask

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Trask Cover

ISBN13: 9780870710230
ISBN10: 0870710230
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

Published in 1960 when Don Berry was 27, Trask is often mentioned in the same breath as Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion as the finest Oregon novel ever written. Set along the northern Oregon coast range in the late 1840s, Trask was inspired by the life of settler, mountain man, and fur trapper Elbridge Trask (for whom both a river and a mountain are named here in the Beaver State). Trask is more than mere historical fiction, however; it is also an insightful and exceptionally well-crafted novel that captures the great uncertainty and promise the settlers undoubtedly knew all too well.
Recommended by Philip, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Set in 1848 on the wild edge of the continent, in the rain forests and rugged headlands of the Oregon coast "Trask follows a mountain man's quest for new opportunities and new land to settle. The OSU Press is proud to reissue Berry's celebrated first book, considered one of the finest historical novels of the American West.

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

fishgirl, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by fishgirl)
This book is the best I've read in a long time the detail is beautiful with out bogging down the story line. Takes place on the North Coast of Oregon as the firrt white man to cross into Tillamook Indian territory. Descriptions of the landscape are fantastic and best of all when its all done, there are two more book in a loose trilogy,
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nlerud, January 27, 2009 (view all comments by nlerud)
This might be the great (largely unread) Oregon novel. It takes me back to Sophomore English, where we were taught (a bit simplistically - did anybody else get this hammered into them?) that all of literature can be divvied up into about four stories: man versus man, man versus nature, man versus God and man versus himself. I think those were the four. "Trask" has 'em all - and, just like the uber-masculine pattern outlined, women have basically nothing to do with this story (there is the long-suffering wife, but she disappears after the first third of the book.) "Trask" is a quest narrative, a buddy novel, a pretty fascinating first encounter story, and finally the death-grips struggle of one guy alone in the wilderness, and that last act (which, honestly, is not a subject that particularly interests me on paper) is absolutely riveting. The scene where Trask makes fire is one of the best things I've read in a long time, and the first time I've cried while reading a book since I was ten years old. I can't say enough about this book, even though it represents things I find totally suspect: all-male worlds, rugged individualism, and white guys writing about Native American spirituality (nearly always a bad idea). "Trask" makes it all work, somehow, with grace and beauty and a razor-sharp sense of place. I haven't loved a book like this in a while - it's nice to know there's still writing out there that can do this to you.
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rsb97229, March 20, 2008 (view all comments by rsb97229)
I have never written one of these reviews before, but this book is a true masterpiece and someone needs to say so. The story is based at least loosely in historical fact, and those familiar with the Oregon coast will recognize many of the landmarks of the story. The landscape itself plays an important role in this novel, though you need not know the land to appreciate it. The book is about Trask, a former mountain man who has married and settled in Northwest Oregon, west and south of Astoria. For reasons not fully explainable, he becomes restless and feels compelled to explore the Coast not far from his home by miles (maybe 25-50), but quite distant in other ways. He hires as his guide an Indian who knows the territory and also happens to have spirtual powers, but not in any unbelievable or new-age hokey sense. The new territory is inhabited by a tribe that has never lived with white men. Its chief is, like Trask and his guide, another remarkable character named Kilches, a large black Indian who is one of the most memorable ny fictional character in any genre. . Trask's encounter with the tribe heralds the beginning of the end of their largely untouched native civilization, and Kilches profoundly understands this from the get go. Trask is drawn to the new territory and asks permission to settle there, and in the course of being permitted to do so, ends up on a vision quest in the wilderness that is mystical in a way that is believable (even to a skeptic like myself). The culminating event is shocking and then very moving. Berry is (was) a very gifted writer. This is a novel of characters, ideas, and a suspensful plot line. Mr. Berry was a true master and I cannot wait to begin Moonstruck, the second book of the series. The new edition reveals that he attended Reed College with Gary Snyder and Philip Whalen, and had an interest in poetry and sculpting He was a young man when he wrote this book. I marvelled over the story, the language, the humor. It is one of the best books of fiction I have read in many years. It is a shame that Berry did not get the recognition that he deserved during his life. Hopefully, it will come posthumously.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780870710230
Author:
Berry, Don
Publisher:
Oregon State University Press
Location:
Corvallis
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Authors, American
Subject:
Oregon
Subject:
Fur trade
Subject:
Trappers.
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st OSU Press ed.
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series Volume:
no. 5
Publication Date:
20040731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
xvii, 348 p.
Dimensions:
8.9 x 6 x 0.8 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » General
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Literature Folklore and Memoirs

Trask New Trade Paper
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Product details xvii, 348 p. pages Oregon State University Press - English 9780870710230 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Published in 1960 when Don Berry was 27, Trask is often mentioned in the same breath as Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion as the finest Oregon novel ever written. Set along the northern Oregon coast range in the late 1840s, Trask was inspired by the life of settler, mountain man, and fur trapper Elbridge Trask (for whom both a river and a mountain are named here in the Beaver State). Trask is more than mere historical fiction, however; it is also an insightful and exceptionally well-crafted novel that captures the great uncertainty and promise the settlers undoubtedly knew all too well.

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