Greg Matthews Heart of the Country

ISBN 13: 9780821722992

Heart of the Country

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9780821722992: Heart of the Country
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A novel about cowboys and buffalo hunters, ladies and whores, schemers and adventurers, settlers and Indians, all set against the backdrop of the American plains. Greg Matthews is also the author of "The Wisdom of Stones", "Power in the Blood" and "The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

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From Publishers Weekly:

If the vast buffalo herds that still roamed Kansas in the mid-19th century were in some sense the heart of the country, then the white pioneers committed some kind of spiritual suicide by wiping them out. So suggests this sprawling and doggedly fanciful tale by the Australian author of The Further Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The central figure in a cast of energized puppets, of whom most are either insane or malicious, is Joe Cobdenillegitimate, half-Indian, fated both by his birth and the buffalo-like hump on his back to be a social outcast. Joe starts his working life as a hunter of buffalo, then regrets his role in their destruction and turns to making cigar-store Indians, while rearing the ingrate son of a pious lunatic. The story includes incest, murder, whoring, drunkenness, opium taking, ghoulish burial and shovelfuls of insanity, as well as a spectral white buffalo, among other echoes of Moby-Dick. Dickens (with whom Matthews has been capriciously compared) could treat reality in a fanciful manner; Matthews treats fancy as though it were reality. His story is enjoyable by dint of its vitality, but also exasperating because of its lack of clarity and substance. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

A half-white child is born to a dying Indian woman alone on the Kansas prairie in 1855. Adopted by a Saint Louis doctor, he grows up intelligent, willful, and perhaps cursed. He runs away at 16 and careens through several jobs and much money until trapped as a nursemaid to another precocious brat in a small Kansas town. Hunchbacked, distant, and of alien stock, Joe Cobden lives an unheroic life, but the small insanities he takes part in or meets in that small town are the meat of this tremendous novel. Matthews has taken a dust-blown soap opera and turned it into a character study of warped minds and withered souls, of human nature distilled to essences by isolation. The various people can be as grotesque in their actions as Cobden is in his physique, but nothing seems contrived here. A very compelling book, recommended for most libraries. W. Keith McCoy, Dowdell Lib., South Amboy, N.J.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Greg Matthews
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Matthews, Greg
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