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When Trey McLean leaves his family's East Texas cotton farm and sets off on his own to learn the cattleman's trade, he's about as green as they come. But he learns fast--about deceit, love, good and evil--all at the side of veterans. Targeted ads. HC: Forge.
Young Trey McLean is a pumpkin roller (farmer) with ambitions of being a cattleman. Leaving his father's East Texas farm with a dun horse and four old cows he rides toward the unclaimed lands "out west." When his cows are stolen by a greedy farmer with the connivance of a dishonest sheriff, it is not his anger at this injustice but his helplessness to alter the situation that wins us over. He is not an archetypal macho hero with blazing six-guns but an ordinary man who confronts unfairness with gritted teeth. We share Trey's confused response to Jarrett Longacre, a top hand and a fugitive from the law, whose thoughtless outlaw ways embroil Trey with Marshal Gault, a lawman with an obsessive, unforgiving nature. Jarrett is a likable, troublesome presence in each stage of Trey's life and labors: the wagon yard in Fort Worth; on Ivan Kerbow's cattle drive, the event signalling Trey's rite of passage from farmer to cowboy; on Kerbow's ranch in far West Texas. When Trey marries Sarah Stark and agrees to manage Kerbow's ranch, Kelton adds a feminine dimension to the narrative. Just as Jarrett stands in contrast to Trey, Katy Rice, a former prostitute who becomes involved with Jarrett, is Sarah's opposite. Sarah's fear of loneliness has her hearing voices in the wind, while Katy relishes solitude. The final confrontation between Jarrett and Gault forces each of these four characters to resolve their inner conflicts and accept the consequences.
A superb coming-of-age novel by a master western storyteller whose deft touch with characterization is underappreciated.
"Elmer Kelton is an authentic American voice." —John Jakes
"This is a hallmark of any Kelton novel: His research is thorough and his feel for the time and place is remarkable." —Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Excerpted from The Pumpkin Rollers by Kelton, Elmer Copyright © 1997 by Kelton, Elmer. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted October 18, 2002
This book is a good read for American Literature students. Male students will enjoy the western story and female students will enjoy the romance. It is comparable to Lonesome Dove or All the Pretty Horses.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.