Monday, October 6, 2014

The Homesman

Title: The Homesman

Author: Glendon Swarthout [Website][Website Part 2][IMDb]; Read by Candace Thaxton [IMDb][acx] aka Candace Thompson [Website][Resume][Twitter]

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio

ISBN: 9781442371613

Length: 8 hours ; 8 discs

Obtained: Library audiobook copy

Why this book?:
This one had caught my interest when I ordered it for the library.  So when I needed to find an audiobook quickly, and this one was available...


I hadn't really read much of the description, so I was pretty shocked and horrified early on during the story.  At the same time, between the description and presentation I was quickly caught up in the story.  Candace Thaxton did a great job with a variety of voices both male and female.  And the descriptions, which normally I find boring or distracting, were interesting and also well presented.

Living in the west in the 1850s is hard, and not everybody can handle it.  When a woman suffers hardship beyond her breaking point, the best solution (there being no asylums) is for someone to take them back east where they can be cared for by family.  The someone responsible for getting them there?  That is the "homesman."  This most recent winter has been very difficult, with 4 women needing to go back.  And no one is ready to step up for the job except Mary Bee Cuddy (and the fellow she convinces to help her).

As the story continues, the dangers also continue, as do the shocking revelations and reactions.  Everything just seems to spiral, with a deep look not only into the realities of the time, but also into the fragility of mental health and the good and bad sides of mankind.  As with reality, the close of the story doesn't necessarily make for a happy ending.

Was this worth reading?  Definitely.  And the audiobook format suited it well.  But if you're looking for a feel good book, this is not it.

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