Cutting Stone

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Burroway's startling and accomplished novel, set in the years after 1914, presents a bleak picture of the American West as it follows a Baltimore society woman who relocates to Arizona on account of her husband's health. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Duty compels Eleanor Pointdexter to accompany her tubercular husband, a banker, to Bowie, Arizona, in 1913. Contemptuous of the desert town and its people, she seeks solace in drink and an affair with a local rancher that ends badly in innocent death and suffering. Eleanor comes close to a complete breakdown, hanging onto sanity only through her plans to convert a deserted mission into a house. Meanwhile, the brother of Eleanor's lover and his Chinese-American friend are ensnared in the Mexican Revolution. Their stories of allegiances offered and betrayals suffered provide a masculine counterpoint to Eleanor's saga. All of the characters seek to carve out meaningful lives, both physically and spiritually, from surrounding and often overwhelming environments. This fine historical novel, with its richly textured evocation of a specific time and place, is also an astute psychological study. For most collections.-- Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.
Kirkus Reviews
The author of Opening Nights (1985), Raw Silk (1977—a National Book Award runner-up), etc., evokes a Baltimore society woman's coming of age in early-1900's Arizona in this vividly realized epic tale—utterly captivating, and among the author's best work. The pampered wife of a Baltimore banking executive and daughter of a wealthy Catholic businessman, young Mrs. Eleanor Poindexter was born and bred to entertain, manage an extensive household, and surround herself with beautiful things. Decidedly content with her role—despite the fact that she doesn't love her husband, Laurel (who, in any case, dotes on her)—Eleanor panics when Laurel contracts tuberculosis and must transfer posthaste to a bank in hot, healing, primitive Arizona. Initially, Eleanor finds herself even more outrageously bored by tiny, provincial Bowie than she had feared, but as her life begins to intertwine with the lives of such eccentric dreamers as an impoverished marble-quarry owner; a spinster schoolteacher who refuses to marry the town's richest man; a Mexican maid determined to live a lady's life in California; a derelict miner who runs off to serve Pancho Villa; and the Chinese son of a former railway worker who wanders the desert in search of himself—Eleanor's own character is soon stripped, twisted, and redefined by the unforgiving desert. With her sharp- eyed, pitiless evocations of Eleanor's battles with alcoholism, adultery, and self-pity, Burroway creates a virtual Emma Bovary of the West—a memorable character who finally triumphs in an unsympathetic world. Great, wide-screen entertainment in the McMurtry tradition.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558177574
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/1/1993
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 480

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