An American Library Association Notable Book
In discrete disclosures joined with the intricacy of a spider's web, James Galvin depicts the hundred-year history of a meadow in the arid mountains of the Colorado/Wyoming border. Galvin describes the seasons, the weather, the wildlife, and the few people who do not possess but are themselves possessed by this terrain. In so doing he reveals an experience that is part of our heritage and mythology. For Lyle, Ray, Clara, and App, the struggle to survive on an independent family ranch is a series of blameless failures and unacclaimed successes that illuminate the Western character. The Meadow evokes a sense of place that can be achieved only by someone who knows it intimately.
These ragged sketches of ranch life along the Wyoming-Colorado border depict Galvin's neighbors--hardscrabble folk--in wry, stoic stories of skill, survival and loss that flash back and forth across 100 years of the high meadow's history. The author's ( Imaginary Timber ) style of lyrical reserve is sufficient to preserve Lyle, Ray, Clara and Appleton in prose amber, but he is too respectful of Lyle to press him on why his sister Clara left the ranch and blew her brains out. The prose soars only in descriptions of weather in the meadow, of Lyle's ax work and Ray's machinery. Still, there is spare beauty here, and readers of Richard Ford, Jim Harrison and Rick Bass will feel at home in Galvin's country.