Friday, January 9, 2015

Wolf Song

Wolf Song  - Harvey Fergusson, 1927

Critics and discerning readers of Westerns have called  the finest novel of the American West. The protagonist is Sam Lash, a mountain man, and is based roughly on the life and times of Kit Carson.

The novel opens with a bang. Chapter One moves quickly, in economical and flowing prose. The descriptions of nature and fights are a cut above. The ethnocentric and male chauvinist baggage that we’d expect in a novel written in the 1920s keep this book from being as satisfying a read as A.B. Guthrie's The Big Sky, another novel on the mountain men.

Sometimes the vernacular speech is forced and cheesy. Dadgummit, shoot me for a tail-draggin' galoot if it ain’t true this novel has survived a purty spell and folks are still reading it in 2008.

Survival counts. I think readers who like semi-literary westerns or are interested in the history of Taos and New Mexico will enjoy this novel

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