Monday, July 11, 2016

Review: 'Far Enough' captures landscapes, characters and events with poetic prose

A book as powerful and arresting as a prairie sunset following a furious rainstorm, Joe Wilkins’ novel “Far Enough: A Western in Fragments” eschews the romantic myth of the Modern American West and replaces it instead with an authentic, poignant story of the yearnings, mistakes, suffering and healing of a Montana ranching family. An austere, arresting novel, “Far Enough” is the story of a young cowboy Willie Benson; his boss, rancher Wade Newman; and Newman’s daughter Jackie. Each is searching for something to hold onto as they cope with family strife, drought, loss and redemption in the high plains of eastern Montana near Ryegate. It is evidenced throughout this novel that Joe Wilkins is a poet, capturing the landscapes, characters and events in stirring prose that speaks volumes on the Montana frame of mind. One example of Wilkins’ masterful writing is young Jackie’s perception of dust kicked up by a pickup: “Now the old Chevy Luv came racing down the dirt road, throwing great arcs of dust across the sun, and everything Jackie saw — the gray corral boards, the craggy bark of the cottonwoods, her own hands — went a reddish shade of gold.” “Far Enough” takes 30 minutes to read, but its impact lingers. From raucous cowboys on a Friday night at the Ryegate Bar to a rancher’s gnawing, persistent fear of drought, and from a young girl’s fragile dreams to the harsh realities of a cowboy’s life, Wilkin’s creates a vivid tableaux of the county and its people. Friends of mine, ranchers outside of Park City, agreed, saying that “Far Enough” is the real deal, and then qualified that statement with this passage: “So Wade Newman rode for home, smiling, dreaming rain and a fast running river, dreaming lamb chops and green broke horses. And the dust beat against his face.”...more

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