Signed Jo-Ann Mapson Shadow Ranch: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780060172169

Shadow Ranch: A Novel

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9780060172169: Shadow Ranch: A Novel

The tragic death of Lainie's four-year-old son profoundly affects not only her own marriage, but the lives of her elderly grandfather, Bop, who falls in love with a retired stripper, and her guitar-playing, unlucky-in-love brother Russell

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About the Author:

Jo-Ann Mapson, a third generation Californian, grew up in Fullerton as a middle child with four siblings. She dropped out of college to marry, but later finished a creative writing degree at California State University, Long Beach. Following her son's birth in 1978, Mapson worked an assortment of odd jobs teaching horseback riding, cleaning houses, typing resumes, and working retail. After earning a graduate degree from Vermont College's low residency program, she taught at Orange Coast College for six years before turning to full-time writing in 1996. Mapson is the author of the acclaimed novels Shadow Ranch, Blue Rodeo, Hank Chloe, and Loving Chloe."The land is as much a character as the people," Mapson has said. Whether writing about the stark beauty of a California canyon or the poverty of an Arizona reservation, Mapson's landscapes are imbued with life. Setting her fiction in the Southwest, Mapson writes about a region that she knows well; after growing up in California and living for a time in Arizona and New Mexico, Mapson lives today in Cosa Mesa, California. She attributes her focus on setting to the influence of Wallace Stegner.Like many of her characters, Mapson has ridden horses since she was a child. She owns a 35-year-old Appaloosa and has said that she learned about writing from learning to jump her horse, Tonto. "I realized," she said, "that the same thing that had been wrong with my riding was the same thing that had been wrong with my writing. In riding there is a term called `the moment of suspension,' when you're over the fence, just hanging in the air. I had to give myself up to it, let go, trust the motion. Once I got that right, everything fell into place."

From Kirkus Reviews:

Yet another sensitive family drama set in today's New West from the author of Hank & Chloe (1993) and Blue Rodeo (1994)--this one featuring a rich and feisty California octogenarian, his ex- stripper lover, and the troubled grandchildren who disapprove, disapprove, disapprove. The Carpenter clan of southern California has been rich ever since the family-owned Shadow Ranch started shipping its citrus fruit all over the country, but its members have carried a curse through the generations as well. The curse takes the form of a defective heart--a genetic time bomb that has already taken the lives of 80-year-old Bop's grown son and his only great-grandson, four-year-old Spencer. It's hard for Bop's surviving grandchildren, Lainie and Russell, to understand why their gentle father had to die while irascible old Bop is still kicking in his landmark Frank Lloyd Wright house back on the bay--running through a series of gold-digging wives, riding his bad-tempered horse, and trying to run his grandkids' lives even though they stubbornly refuse to take his money. Lainie has enough problems as it is--trying to maintain her marriage and hold onto her part-time job in the wake of her son's death. Russell, whose casual love affairs and career as a used-record salesman have proved most galling to his grandfather, looks on the old man with greater equanimity--although when Bop takes up with Earlynn, an ex-stripper he spots on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show, Russell worries that Bop's worst faults may turn out to be his own. In the end, time heals all wounds, with help from good-hearted Earlynn, and the Carpenters find themselves happy at last, contrary to all expectations. Less eccentric and arresting than Hank & Chloe, with a way of rambling for long stretches, though Mapson's empathy for the modern western psyche still elucidates and entertains. (Literary Guild alternate selection; $40,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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