The Big Rock Candy Mountain

( 10 )

Overview

Bo Mason, his wife, Elsa, and their two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks out his fortune—in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.

Stegner portrays more than thirty years in the life of the Mason family in this masterful, harrwoing saga of people trying to survive during the lean ...

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The Big Rock Candy Mountain

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Overview

Bo Mason, his wife, Elsa, and their two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks out his fortune—in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running through the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest.

Stegner portrays more than thirty years in the life of the Mason family in this masterful, harrwoing saga of people trying to survive during the lean years of the early twentieth century.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Stegner has felt the spell of mountain and prairie, of draught, flood, and blizzard. . . . A harrowing saga"
—The New York Times

"Stands out beautifully and unforgettably."
The New Yorker

From the Publisher
"An irreplaceable classic . . . One of the great books from which we may understand America and its rise . . . It has not aged, and it seems unlikely that, as long as memory and history preserve the bringing forth of modern life on this continent, it will ever lose relevance."
-Robert Stone, from the Introduction

"Stegner has felt the spell of mountain and prairie, of drought, flood, and blizzard. . . . A harrowing saga."
-The New York Times

"Stands out beautifully and unforgettably."
-The New Yorker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140139396
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/1991
  • Series: Contemporary American Fiction Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 780,920
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.55 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Wallace Stegner (1909-1993) published more than two dozen works throughout his life, including Angle of Repose, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. An early environmentalist, Stegner was instrumental-with his now famous "Wilderness Letter"-in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Robert Stone is the National Book Award- winning author of the novels A Hall of Mirrors, Outerbridge Reach, Dog Soldiers, and A Flag for Sunrise. He lives in New York.

Biography

Wallace Stegner was born in 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa. The son of Scandinavian immigrants, he traveled with his parents and brother all over the West-to North Dakota, Washington, Saskatchewan, Montana, and Wyoming-before settling in Salt Lake City in 1921. Many of the landscapes he encountered in his peripatetic youth figure largely in his work, as do characters based on his stern father and athletic, outgoing brother. Stegner received most of his education in Utah, graduating from the University in 1930. He furthered his education at the University of Iowa, where he received a master's and a doctoral degree. He married Mary Stuart Page in 1934, and for the next decade the couple followed Wallace's teaching career-to the University of Wisconsin, Harvard, and eventually to Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program, and where he was to remain until his retirement in 1971. A number of his creative writing students have become some of today's most well respected writers, including Wendell Berry, Thomas McGuane, Raymond Carver, Edward Abbey, Robert Stone, and Larry McMurty.

Throughout his career and after, Stegner's literary output was tremendous. His first novel, Remembering Laughter, was published in 1937. By the time of his death in 1993 he had published some two dozen works of fiction, history, biography, and essays. Among his many literary prizes are the Pulitzer Prize for Angle of Repose (1971) and the National Book Award for The Spectator Bird (1976). His collection of essays, Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs (1992), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle award.

Although his fiction deals with many universal themes, Stegner is primarily recognized as a writer of the American West. Much of his literature deals with debunking myths of the West as a romantic country of heroes on horseback, and his passion for the terrain and its inhabitants have earned him the title "The Dean of Western Letters." He was one of the few true Men of Letters in this generation. An historian, essayist, short story writer and novelist, as well as a leading environmental writer. Although always connected in people's minds with the West, he had a long association with New England. Many short stories and one of his most successful novels, Crossing to Safety, are set in Vermont, where he had a summer home for many years. Another novel, The Spectator Bird, takes place in Denmark.

An early environmentalist, he actively championed the region's preservation and was instrumental-with his now-famous 'Wilderness Letter'-in the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Honest and straightforward, educated yet unpretentious, cantankerous yet compassionate, Wallace Stegner was an enormous presence in the American literary landscape, a man who wrote and lived with ferocity, energy, and integrity.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Wallace Earle Stegner (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 18, 1909
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lake Mills, Iowa
    1. Date of Death:
      April 13, 1993
    2. Place of Death:
      Santa Fe, New Mexico

Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2002

    Follow the lives of Bo and Elsa through the 20th Century

    An incredibly literate journey through the 20th century. We travel with Bo and Elsa through their meeting through marriage, children and ultimately old age and death. Their lives believably weave through the most important events of the century. Bo is always looking for his Big Rock Candy Mountain,while Elsa, like women everywhere works on keeping her family together. I first read this book 30 years ago as a 21 year old college student and just reread it as a Grandma. It still holds the honor of being my all time favorite novel.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Big Rock Candy Mountain is a wonderful read!

    This semi-autobiographical novel is a wonderful look at life in the mid-west and west from 1900 to 1930. It is very well written. It presents the role of women as it was in those time.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    This book was the most outstanding book, and author I have read

    This book was the most outstanding book, and author I have read in a long time. This was truly an incredible journey experienced through the written word. It has been a number of years since I was in university, but I know I was not introduced to this remarkable author. It is my opinion that all students of American literature should be. It is my desire to read all that this man has written so as to experience his style to the fullest. I will long remember this tragedy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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