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The Last Crossing: Vanderhaege, John H.

The Last Crossing

Vanderhaege, John H.

ISBN 10: 087113912X / ISBN 13: 9780871139122
Published by Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004
Used Condition: Fine Hardcover
From WoodWorks Books (Sumner, IA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

FIRST AMERICAN EDITION, 8vo., Pp.393-SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page--Book condition is Fine in like dust-jacket w bookseller price sticker on back of jacket---Winner of the Canadian Bookseller Assoc. Fiction Book of the Year Award-"an exhilarating journey from the gleaming spires of Oxford in Victorian England to the dusty whiskey trading posts of the ninteenth-century American and Canadian West". Bookseller Inventory # 000042

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Last Crossing

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Publication Date: 2004

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Ordered by their tyrannical industrialist father to find their missing brother, Englishmen Charles and Addington Gaunt set off to America, where half-Blackfoot guide Jerry Potts and a growing number of companions journey by wagon train and confront a number of personal demons. 35,000 first printing.

Review:

Set in the late 19th century, The Last Crossing, Guy Vanderhaeghe's first novel since his acclaimed Englishman's Boy, is the story of three well-off English brothers: twins Simon and Charles Gaunt and their elder sibling, Addington, a former soldier and an arrogant scoundrel. At the behest of their dictatorial father, Charles and Addington travel the prairies of the U.S. and Canada in search of sensitive Simon, who has disappeared. Much of the novel concerns their journeys--bottles of port and claret rattling in their wagons--through Indian country with a cast of intricately drawn, fully realized characters. The small troupe is led through the whiskey-coloured light by Jerry Potts, a half-breed with one foot firmly in each world. The heart of the plot involves the love that Charles, a painter, feels for Lucy Stoveall, a simple but lovely country woman who accompanies them, secretly intent on avenging her sister's murder. However, the most intriguing character in this marvelous collection of all-too-human personalities is Custis Straw, a Bible-reading, heavy-drinking Civil War veteran who hides his tremendous dignity behind a bumbling facade, and who also loves Lucy.

Vanderhaeghe's rich language reveals a genuine feel for the prairies and their rough settlements: "a boom town draws rogues like a jam jar draws wasps," he writes, and describes "miles of wet plain patched with apple green, new penny copper, glints of silver." Though this is a Western in the traditional sense, Vanderhaeghe never sinks into parody. Rather, he uses the Western motif to reveal a number of profound universal truths about personal honour, and human failings and strengths. His humane character depictions reach emotional depths found in few novels today. --Mark Frutkin, Amazon.ca

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