The Jump-Off Creek

The Jump-Off Creek

4.6 3
by Molly Gloss
     
 

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A reading group favorite, The Jump-Off Creek is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. “Every gritty line of the story rings true” (Seattle Times) as Molly Gloss delivers an authentic and moving portrait of the American West. “A powerful

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Overview

A reading group favorite, The Jump-Off Creek is the unforgettable story of widowed homesteader Lydia Sanderson and her struggles to settle in the mountains of Oregon in the 1890s. “Every gritty line of the story rings true” (Seattle Times) as Molly Gloss delivers an authentic and moving portrait of the American West. “A powerful novel of struggle and loss” (Dallas Morning News), The Jump-Off Creek gives readers an intimate look at the hardships of frontier life and a courageous woman determined to survive.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in the high mountain country of Oregon during the 1890s, this first novel is a quiet, unsparing portrait of pioneer life, recounted simply and without romanticism. Drawing on pioneer diaries, journals and hand-me-down stories of her own ancestors, Gloss displays a deep awareness not only of the brutal hardships of frontier life, but also of the moral codes and emotional attachments of the people who settled there. Drawn by the freedom the West offers, Lydia Sanderson leaves a disappointing marriage in Pennsylvania and comes to Jump-Off Creek to homestead a place of her own. Tim Whiteaker, ``gone cowboying'' since the age of 13, and his partner, the half-Indian Blue Odell, raise cattle nearby. Three wolfers, squatting on abandoned property near Jump-Off Creek and walking the thin edge of the law in order to earn a marginal living, provide much of the tension within the novel. The author's intimate understanding of the harsh physical conditions and of the rituals and practices of frontier life (there are long descriptions of how to brand cattle and how to mend a roof) sometimes overshadows a deeper delineation of character. However, most of the scenes are handled with a restraint that communicates the characters' endemic loneliness, and the dialogue, though spare, is rich enough to convey their emotional conflicts. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Not a standard ``Western,'' but a novel of the West notable for its accurate portrayal of life on a homestead and for the quality of writing that will make readers linger. At the height of the Depression of 1895 Lydia Sanderson, freed by the death of her husband, travels to Oregon where she homesteads on a mountain, living in a wretched hovel on land not fit to grow even a vegetable garden. Her companions are two mules, two goats, and hard work. Lydia's neighbors are few and far but bound together by a common struggle to survive. Their life is one of terse converse, kindness, and quick response to one another's needs. A rare treat of a first novel.-- Sister Avila, Acad. of Holy Angels, Minneapolis
From the Publisher
"Sometimes it seems that literature is an excellent medium for measuring intimacy; sometimes the white space and the black letters seem to gleefully record thedistances between us. "The Jump-Off Creek," written by Molly Gloss in 1989 andreissued by Mariner, is about a woman, Lydia Sanderson, who homesteads alone inWashington state. The book is a prism of loneliness in the form of a novel."—reviewed by SUSAN SALTER REYNOLDS The Los Angeles Times

"As authentic as sand in one's shoes." - Edward Hoagland

"A rare treat to find characters we can care about this much." The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547525365
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/20/2014
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
108,553
File size:
1 MB

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