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Gautreaux, Tim The Clearing: A Novel ISBN 13: 9781400030538

The Clearing: A Novel - Softcover

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9781400030538: The Clearing: A Novel
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In his critically acclaimed new novel, Tim Gautreaux fashions a classic and unforgettable tale of two brothers struggling in a hostile world.
In a lumber camp in the Louisiana cypress forest, a world of mud and stifling heat where men labor under back-breaking conditions, the Aldridge brothers try to repair a broken bond. Randolph Aldridge is the mill’s manager, sent by his father—the mill owner—to reform both the damaged mill and his damaged older brother. Byron Aldridge is the mill's lawman, a shell-shocked World War I veteran given to stunned silences and sudden explosions of violence that make him a mystery to Randolph and a danger to himself. Deep in the swamp, in this place of water moccasins, whiskey, and wild card games, these brothers become embroiled in a lethal feud with a powerful gangster. In a tale full of raw emotion as supple as a saw blade, The Clearing is a mesmerizing journey into the trials that define men’s souls.

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Review:
In Tim Gautreaux's first novel, The Next Step in the Dance, the author staked a literary claim to Louisiana bayou country. In his second novel, The Clearing, he colonizes that claim. The atmosphere of the novel is humid and snake-infested, a swamp alive with mosquitoes and hungry alligators, stinkbugs and stench, flooding and freezing alternately. The setting provides a fitting backdrop for the bare subsistence lives of the people who live there.

The time is 1923, the place a family-owned mill, and the people a motley collection made up of a manager from Pennsylvania, his brother the constable, poor white and black loggers, three women, Sicilians, and polyglot Cajuns. Byron, the constable, a golden boy before the war, eldest son and heir apparent to a timber fortune, returned from France a damaged man, no longer interested in family or future. He drifted away from home and lost contact. When the novel begins, he has been found in this Louisiana backwater and his brother, Randolph, is dispatched to manage the family mill until the cypress forest is cleared and to bring Byron home. What happens to them in this hermetically sealed redoubt is a story of intense and forgiving brotherly love, as Randolph struggles to reclaim Byron and to maintain decency against formidable odds. They must deal with the Sicilians who own the gambling, liquor and women and will do anything to hang onto this franchise; the loggers who work and fight in equal part; and each other, not as the boys they were, but as the men they are.

You might learn more about old-time logging than you ever wanted to know, but the story is as compelling as Cold Mountain or All the Pretty Horses and just as well written. --Valerie Ryan

From the Back Cover:
“Gautreaux writes beautifully about terrible things, about war and life and death . . . Word for word, it’s my favorite novel this year.”
--Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

“With poetic efficiency . . . the novel moves with the pacing of twilight . . . A story that’s at once tender and unrelentingly exciting.”
--Ron Charles, Christian Science Monitor

“Tim Gautreaux weaves a plot so compelling . . . so filled with eternal truths that it transcends place and time.”
--Kelly Margaret Smith, Southern Living

“A masterpiece . . . Wit, wisdom, and heart are all combined in perfect proportion in this astonishing and unforgettable novel.”
--Susan Larson, New Orleans Times-Picayune

Tim Gautreaux's The Clearing presents the reader with an interesting dilemma: do you give in to the stifling suspense and read quickly, to find out what happens to the novel's vivid characters, or do you go slow, savoring each delicious sentence, and thereby risking, by the climax, a nervous breakdown?
--Richard Russo

“In The Clearing, native Louisianan Tim Gautreaux has created an unforgettably harsh world of man-killing reptiles, razor-swinging woodcutters, taped-together shotguns, and tractless, thousand-year-old cypress forests. Out of this heart of darkness comes a beautifully crafted story of two brothers and their incredible violent battle to preserve family love and human decency in a place gone haywire.”
--Howard Frank Mosher

"The power and complexity of The Clearing stem not only from the larger themes of loss, human ruin, and the redemptive force of love, but also from Tim Gautreaux's finely pitched capture of place and its effect on human nature and endeavor. What makes this novel a modern masterpiece is that while Gautreaux never blinks from the story, the reader begins to comprehend the layers upon layers of American fable, myth, and parable contained within the pages. A superb novel, from the very first page."
--Jeffrey Lent

“As a reader passes through the contagion of violence within this story, what is remembered are the tendrils of compassion and tenderness, small but enduring. Tim Gautreaux is a wonderful writer, and The Clearing is a unique and fascinating story.”
--Rick Bass

“I have long been an avid admirer of Tim Gautreaux, but after reading The Clearing I came to a rare and notable state of mind as a reader. Hereafter, as with Mississippi and Faulkner, Northern California and Steinbeck, Georgia and O’Connor, when I think of Louisiana, I will hear the voice of Tim Gautreaux. He has for me become an enduring presence not just in the world of books but in the American landscape.”
--Robert Olen Butler

“This dark story, told in the clearest prose, compels you forward like a handcar on a downhill slope, until the final escape. With The Clearing Tim Gautreaux makes himself a clearing on the shelf of books you have to keep. You read it in wonder.”
--Kent Haruf

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  • PublisherVintage
  • Publication date2004
  • ISBN 10 1400030536
  • ISBN 13 9781400030538
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages320
  • Rating
    3.93 avg rating
    ( 1,802 ratings by Goodreads )

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375414749: The Clearing

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ISBN 10:  ISBN 13:  9780375414749
Publisher: Knopf, 2003
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9780340828892: THE CLEARING.

KNOPF., 2003
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9780340833186: Clearing

Sceptre, 2004
Softcover

9780340834282: The Clearing

Sceptre, 2003
Softcover

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