Customer Reviews for

The Great Northern Express: A Writer's Journey Home

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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  • Posted September 23, 2012


    Frank needs to get back to earlier books that were wonderful VT stories. Needs to get away from the last several books that were about his personal adventures. I've rea all his books and this was fair at best

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Great read

    This is a dear , laugh out loud ,great read! Tender,funny and interesting ! Loved every page

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  • Posted July 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book promised: 1) an account of a road trip, 2) visit(s) t

    This book promised: 1) an account of a road trip, 2) visit(s) to various, independent booksellers across the country, 3) a journey that leads “home.” This was the first book by Mr. Mosher, a.k.a. “Frank Who,” I have read so his humorous telling of his trek was a bonus.
    When Howard Frank Mosher was 65, he applied for a McArthur Grant, which would pay him to “practice his art,” however he saw fit, for a year. His “McArthur Grant,” came in the form of a Cancer diagnosis. He took the moment of clarity offered by such a shock to decide he would fulfill a fifty-year-old promise – to visit the “haunts” of the authors of he and his favored Uncle Reg loved to read. He makes this 100 city, 20,000 mile odyssey, in a 20-year-old Chevy Celebrity he has named “the Loser Cruiser;” his traveling companions are: Uncle Reg (beloved uncle and dead 15 years), various authors (also deceased) and the “West Texas Jesus.” All of these “companions” offer direction, suggestions and generally play “Jiminy Cricket” to Mr. Mosher’s “Pinocchio.”
    In planning his itinerary, Mr. Mosher could have used a better GPS or at least consulted a map. He frequently back tracks, travels a few miles between book signings (the incentive for this tour is the promotion of his latest book) then drives extreme distances in a day (like from Miami to Texas). The book relates the story “as the tour happens” interspersed with the details of his move to Orleans, Kingdom County, Vermont in the early 1960’s. While entertaining, why the details of this recalling are included in this travelogue are unclear.
    The author quotes Larry McMurtry at points and the book is largely derivative of Mr. McMurtry’s Roads. Where Roads is a book detailing a road trip for the sake of “seeing where the road goes,” this book has much less focus. Apart from the imaginary riders, Mr. Mosher speaks of some bizarre occurrences he experienced while on his trip. I am not sure if those events were fiction meant to highlight the unusual trip he was on, if they were indicative of a more profound mental issue (possibly from the 44 radiation treatments he received to treat his cancer) with which he has come to accept or if they were actual events.
    The book was fun, but it is not one that will be the top of any “must read” lists.

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Channelling Twain & selling books by hand...

    I love fishing stories. Lord know why, since I can remember only fishing a couple of times in my life. There is something about the sinuous dance of the line, the exotic choice of flies, the murmur of water, the glint of sun that mesmerizes me. And perhaps there is something about that wily fisherman hatching his next story in the big outdoors that makes even failure seem like a good day. Howard Frank Mosher did not write a fish story. Well, not really. But it felt like one. He gives us long, lazy, drawling storytelling as he rolls from one state to another on his cross-country book tour. You might say he was casting a line in all those independents he visited: some holes were dry and some were hopping. In bookstore readings with an author we get perhaps an hour of the author’s time, giving a reading, telling anecdotes. In The Great Northern Express we have hours of stories, the best ones, about what it is like to live in a mill town in far north New England, to be an author, to travel the country flogging one’s wares in a vehicle so ragged that every mile gained is both a prayer and a miracle. We learn of the man and his life, his influences, his decisions, his joys and cankers. And we get some of the best yankee backcountry jawing around. More than once, he reminded me of the classic book Go With Me by Castle Freeman about northeastern Yankees sitting around an abandoned chair factory for fun. I’m glad Mosher took his long-promised trip, but I wish he’d had more time for fishing.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    I'm a fan of Howard Frank Mosher and that's why this gets three

    I'm a fan of Howard Frank Mosher and that's why this gets three stars. His fiction is fabulous partly because the characters he creates the most wonderful characters who come to life and are interesting to read about. But the author is not interesting. He's a great writer, but his own life is not all that exciting. He would make a great neighbor, probably, just not a great subject for a book. I look forward to his next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Terrific read!

    Warm, witty, really funny, tall tale teller. Now going to read more Mosher. I highly recommend it.

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