Title: WINTER RANGE - Scarce Fine Copy of The First...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Picador, 2000
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: As New
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 262 pages. Published in 2000. The author's breakthrough debut novel. One of the most notable literary debuts of our time. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. "Autographed Copy" round sticker pasted in front. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Claire Davis' Winter Range". "The New West is the setting for an old-fashioned power struggle in Davis' entrancing debut. Sheriff Ike Parsons, 42 and married to fiery redhead Pattiann, patiently patrols a small Montana town whose cattle outnumber its residents. Pattiann, who always loved the ranching life, was reluctant to settle into her role as a townie's wife, and is bitter over her father's decision to pass on the family ranch to her younger brother. It seems a modern Western woman is powerless, except in the sexual realm, which Pattiann discovered as a rebellious, promiscuous teen. Chas Stubblefield was one of the many boys she drunkenly coupled with in her youth, and 16 years later, when Chas comes to her for sympathy, she fools herself into thinking that she and the down-and-out rancher might still strike sparks. A lonely bachelor, Chas lacks business savvy and can't afford enough feed for his livestock during a particularly harsh winter. Compassionate (but ignorant of Chas' past with Pattiann), Ike offers to help Chas, fully expecting the stubborn, explosive man to swallow his pride. Chas' situation is indeed horrifying: His cattle are already dead or starving, and bankrupt Chas lives off the meat. Ike conceives a plan to mercy-kill the surviving animals, provoking Chas, now helpless to stop the law from taking everything he owns, to settle the score, even if it means hurting the woman he loves. Crisp details establish place and characters with authoritative clarity. As the characterization deepens, so do the suspense and the reader's empathy for decent people trapped by human flaws and fate. The narrative, moving surefootedly toward its denouement, raises serious questions about the law, love, and ethics in a tough rural community. With prose as crystalline and clean as snow on the Montana prairie, Davis establishes herself as a writer to watch" (Publishers Weekly). An absolute "must-have" title for Claire Davis collectors. This Autographed Copy is very boldly and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Claire Davis. It is signed directly and vertically (as is her custom) on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is now collectible. This is one of few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A scarce signed copy thus. One of the most brilliant American writers of our time. A fine copy. ISBN 0312261403. Bookseller Inventory # 10952
Synopsis: Ike Parsons is the sheriff of a small Montana town, with a reputation for fairness, common sense, and kindness. When he hears that Chas Stubblefield has fallen on hard times in the bitter winter, he heads out to the rancher's spread to offer assistance. What Ike finds shocks him to his core: cattle starving in the snow or freezing where they stand, and a brooding Stubblefield near bankruptcy, living off the meat of his dying herd, too proud to accept help.
Stubblefield is the heir of an old Montana family; Ike, a Wisonsin native, came west to marry the daughter of another rancher. As sheriff, Ike is something of an outsider, caught between one rancher's rights and the larger law of the community. His attempt to help backfires, and Ike is troubled to learn that Chas is gathering support in town among people who believe that a man's land and property are his to use as he chooses. But Ike does not know that the rancher is planning revenge, a plot that will target Ike's wife Pattiann-a woman with a past her husband does not fully understand, a past in which Chas Stubblefield figured intimately.
An absolutely gripping novel, Winter Range portrays a town in crisis: a debut that is fast paced as a thriller, evocative of broad, spare places and changeable weather, and wise in the relations of men, women, and families.
Review: To say Winter Range is a Montana book is to understate the matter entirely. Winter Range is in fact a perfect reflection of the state itself: big and empty. Claire Davis's ultimately unsatisfying story has a nugget of plot at its center that's plenty fascinating. Good old boy Chas Stubblefield can't seem to make a go of it on the ranch his daddy left to him. He's gone bust, it's the dead of winter, and the starving cattle are dropping in the field like great big flies. Which, as it happens, is a crime in the state of Montana. The novel's protagonist, Sheriff Ike Parsons, has to figure out how to handle this potentially explosive situation. The problem is, Chas is a local, and Ike is a newcomer: neighboring ranchers are likely to close ranks. Another problem is that Chas loves Ike's wife, Pattiann. And the third problem is that the author doesn't trust her material. What could have been a taut thriller of cows and unrequited love has become a meditative snooze as endless as the Montanan winter. Davis constantly delves into her characters' family histories to explain their actions: these are details best left in an author's notebooks. It's admirable that Davis has dreamed up how Pattiann's grandparents met and fell in love. But she doesn't convey their story with any liveliness--these background checks feel like Davis's rote enactment of character motivation. She doubts (rightly) that she's brought Pattiann to life, so she throws a lot of information at us to prove Pattiann's existence.
Which is too bad, because Davis is capable of very nice sentences. About a spring dawn: "Everything about this morning said soon." And Ike is a genuinely appealing character: his position as an outsider subverts a lot of sheriff mythology. As his wife, Pattiann, muses, "He was too human for his job. But of course, that's what made him right for it." If only Davis would trust her readers to believe it, rather than trotting out Ike's family tree to convince us. --Claire Dederer
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