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Stations West
     

Stations West

by Allison Amend
 

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Oklahoma is a forgotten territory of "Indians, outlaws, and immigrants" when its first Jewish settler, Boggy Haurowitz, arrives in 1859. Full of expectations, he finds the untamed region a formidable foe, its landscape rugged, its resources strained.

In Stations West, four generations of Haurowitzes, intertwined with a family of Swedish immigrants, struggle

Overview

Oklahoma is a forgotten territory of "Indians, outlaws, and immigrants" when its first Jewish settler, Boggy Haurowitz, arrives in 1859. Full of expectations, he finds the untamed region a formidable foe, its landscape rugged, its resources strained.

In Stations West, four generations of Haurowitzes, intertwined with a family of Swedish immigrants, struggle against the Territory's "insatiable appetite." The challenges of creating a home amid betrayals, nature's vagaries, and burgeoning statehood prove too great. Each generation in turn succumbs to the overwhelming lure of the transcontinental railroad, and each returns home to find the landscape of their youth, like themselves, changed beyond recognition, their family utterly transformed.

Dramatic and lyrical, Allison Amend's first novel, steeped in the history and lore of the Oklahoma Territory, tells an unforgettable multigenerational — and very American — story of Jewish pioneers, their adopted family, and the challenges they face. Amid the founding of the West, Stations West's generations struggle to forge and maintain their identities as Jews, as immigrants, and as Americans.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Amend’s debut novel (after the collection Things That Pass for Love) is the thin and grim multigenerational story of a pioneer family hacking its way through the frontier states, beginning with the 1880 marriage of Jewish-Cherokee dishwasher Moshe Haurowitz to pregnant Irish prostitute Alice O’Malley in Orerich, Colo. After Moshe abandons Alice and baby Garfield, he works for the railroad and later returns to fetch Garfield, father and son eventually settling in Denton Station, Okla., where they form a business partnership with a family of Swedes headed by Fritz and Rika. Garfield, now a hotheaded adolescent, falls in love with Fritz and Rika’s pregnant daughter, Dora, and runs away to ride the rails, changing his name and staking his fortune in oil before settling down in “the land of misfits and can’t-get-alongs.” Amend dashes through some 50 years and four generations, but the brisk pace shortchanges drama and character development—except for Garfield, who emerges as a shrewd and forceful personality—and leaves the reader feeling underwhelmed by what could be an immersive epic. (Mar.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807136171
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2010
Series:
Yellow Shoe Fiction Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are Saying About This

Thisbe Nissen
"Stations West is truly an American epic. It is the story of immigrants and natives, of the evolution of the land, of culture and of people, of attitudes and lifestyles, of belief, of family, of America itself. I know of no other piece of literature like it. Written in a style as starkly beautiful as the landscape of the Oklahoma territory it describes, Amend's prose is unflinching and unsentimental; it takes on difficult truths with wide-open eyes. I'm quite awed by the novel's tremendous reach and its generosity."-Thisbe Nissen, author of Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night

Meet the Author

Allison Amend, a Chicago native, is the author of the award-winning short story collection Things That Pass for Love. Her writing has appeared in One Story, Black Warrior Review, StoryQuarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, and Other Voices.

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