Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Gentle Annie by MacKinlay Kantor


When we reached the place where Cotton had left his horse and buggy, we had a few moments’ conversation. The Goss brothers spoke with rare feeling about Charley Tatum and what had happened in the bar. They swore seriously and calmly, with astonishing fluency. I was to find that this was a habit they practiced by themselves; in some strange fashion it accounted for the cleanliness of their talk when they were with women or strangers or with people whom they did not like. To be admitted to a swearing bout by the Goss boys was a rare privilege; it marked one’s acceptance by them.


A Western by the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning Andersonville. I’ll confess I have not yet read Andersonville and I will also confess that this novel, my first visit with Mr. Kantor does not have me rushing to the next title.


This novel of a train-robbery investigation starts beautifully, and one knows they are in capable hands, but as it continues, we are introduced to a love-rectangle that confounds in both believability and its apparent purity.


So much time is spent on the soap opera of how these genteel amorous mechanics work that I was a bit exasperated. One is left scratching the head wondering how any single man, let alone three feel so strongly for such an exasperatingly fickle character.


We add to this concatenation of curious emotions an askew morality regarding family dynamics and robbery that we are to assume the author wishes us to sympathize with.


The fault may be this reader, but I found this novel, while well-written, a chore to finish.

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Gentle Annie by MacKinlay Kantor

When we reached the place where Cotton had left his horse and buggy, we had a few moments’ conversation. The Goss brothers spoke with rar...