Now an Academy Award-winning Netflix film by Jane Campion, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst: Thomas Savage's acclaimed Western is "a pitch-perfect evocation of time and place" (Boston Globe) for fans of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain.
Set in the wide-open spaces of the American West, The Power of the Dog is a stunning story of domestic tyranny, brutal masculinity, and thrilling defiance from one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in American literature. The novel tells the story of two brothers — one magnetic but cruel, the other gentle and quiet — and of the mother and son whose arrival on the brothers’ ranch shatters an already tenuous peace. From the novel’s startling first paragraph to its very last word, Thomas Savage’s voice — and the intense passion of his characters — holds readers in thrall.
"Gripping and powerful...A work of literary art." —Annie Proulx, from her afterword
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
From its gruesome opening line, this visceral Western will suck you in. Thomas Savage’s novel follows the two owners of a massive Montana ranch: the cunning and malicious Phil Burbank and his unsophisticated, decidedly more affable brother, George. After George unexpectedly marries a tenderhearted widow, he brings her and her son to live on the ranch, sending Phil’s violent narcissism spinning out of control. First published in the 1960s, The Power of the Dog has become a cult classic—as Annie Proulx explores in her fascinating introduction—and filmmaker Jane Campion has adapted the story for the screen. Artfully blending elements of the thriller, the Western, and the sprawling family psychodrama, Savage takes us on a shocking journey full of twists, suspense, and mesmerizing prose.
First published in 1967 to critical raves, Thomas Savage's The Power of the Dog now includes an afterword by Annie Proulx. It traces the tense relationship between two bachelor brothers, Phil and George Burbank, on a Montana ranch in the 1920s. When George marries a widow, Phil, a bullying, repressed homosexual, terrorizes his new sister-in-law. And when her teenage son comes to the ranch, things get even more complicated. This is just the first reissue of a long-out-of-print book by Savage, hailed as a true master of the western genre. I Heard My Sister Speak My Name is scheduled for this fall, retitled The Sheep Queen.
A Writing Masterclass
A thoroughly enjoyable masterclass of writing with vivid landscapes, razor-sharp psychological insights and one of the best villains since Shakespeare’s Iago.
Thomas Savage gives voice to four distinctly different and memorable main characters, each one trying to weave their way, some with more friction than others, through this gripping early, 20th century Western.
Well worth the read with an ending as taut as a cowboy’s rawhide rope.
Slam bang finish
At first I thought the writing was simple everything was just a little too… obvious and then the ending turned this into a complex and amazing book that has earned its way into what I think is in my list of great books! I tend to figure our books very quickly and this one ended up proving that you can never be sure where a book is going! I can understand why they would want to undertake a film!
Less than stellar!
Not great. Stopped reading and watched movie which was far from great as well!