Have I read this before: Nope
Review: This is a very beautifully written and insightful coming of age story in the early 1900s. It’s long and covers a lot of the family’s history and Eugene’s growing up, but I like how it all works together and how it all is shown to shape who Eugene becomes when he finally leaves home. Also, the way it is written is very engaging and beautiful. Some of the descriptions used are so specific and perfect that they really stand out.
Favorite part: Ben’s death was particularly heartbreaking, because he’s built up (at least in my opinion) as a very sympathetic character and because of how close Eugene was to him. Also, a few phrases:
Gant trying to wake up his sons in the morning:
“‘When I was your age, I had milked four cows, done all the chores, and walked eight miles through the snow by this time.’
Indeed, when he described his early schooling, he furnished a landscape that was constantly three feet deep in snow, and frozen hard. He seemed never to have attended school save under polar conditions.
Ben, Eugene’s older brother, to Eugene after they have a fight over Eugene’s inability to let go of a woman he’d fallen in love with:
“‘There are a lot of bad days. There are a lot of good ones. You’ll forget. There are a lot of days. Let it go.’”
On Ben’s death:
“We can believe in the nothingness of life, we can believe in the nothingness of death and of life after death – but who can believe in the nothingness of Ben?”