Turpentine

Turpentine

by Spring Warren

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Overview

A comic glance at the old American West and a serious story about transformation and redemption, Turpentine is a bold, inventive novel about a young man’s attempt to make sense of the past while unsteadily growing into adulthood. In 1871, Edward Turrentine Bayard III, sick and restless, leaves his Connecticut home to recover out west. But when the private sanitarium in which he is to stay proves to be nothing more than a rickety outpost on the Nebraskan plains, he becomes a buffalo skinner. After returning to the East, Ned teams up with Phaegin, who earns her money rolling cigars, and Curly, a fourteen-year-old coal miner, but the newfound trio is wrongly accused of triggering a bomb at a labor rally, and they must flee. With a Pinkerton agent following their every move, the gang of winsome ne’er-do-wells takes flight on a circuitous escape through northern outposts into Indian country, past the slums of Chicago, and into the boundless Great Plains. En route they become witness to the transformation and growing pains of a burgeoning nation. A picaresque novel of wonderful energy and unforgettable characters, Turpentine is a comic, prescient look at the growth of an individual and a country.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802170361
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 09/10/2007
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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Turpentine 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Turpentine is a novel that embodies many happy surprises: colorful characters, language so beautiful, shimmering and skillful that it seems almost water painted onto the canvas of the page, and a final chapter that not only concludes the story of Edward Turrentine Bayard, but somehow deepens it. The unique characters Warren has developed and the outrageous circumstances that they find themselves in make this book a page-turner from start to finish. The reader cannot help but reflect through the hardships of Ned 'Turpentine' the impacts that our choices emboss on our lives and on the lives of those we are entwined with. Even if the reader is not a fan of the Western genre, this is a novel that embodies the best of the Western while transcending it further to an exploration of the best and worst in the human condition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The previous reviewer is right--if you are looking for your typical genre Western, Turpentine is not it. However, the previous reviewer's reading of the book is based upon that initial, faulty premise. Turpentine is *literature* that takes place in the West, not a dime-store equivalent of a cheap NBC mini-series. Turpentine is exciting, fascinating, and it disrupts our myth of 'the West' (could that be why it takes place partly in the East?? Isn't so much of our conception of the 'West' written by 'Easterners'? Growing up in California and watching Westerns on tv, I hoped I too would one day be able to 'go West' and see a cowboy--little did I know I was about as West as one can go! (now that I think about it, the book kind of plays with Said's Orientalism, inverting East/West--West as 'Other'--and thus representing from within that pov)). Turpentine is in the same vein as Mark Twain--know this going in. It is too smart for reduction. A reader who reads on only one level might be easily swayed/betrayed by the entertaining, rollicking tone, but look deeper and you'll find great riches.
Guest More than 1 year ago
. . . . anything that can go wrong, does go wrong! So much for the plot, however, my biggest disappointment is that for the most part, this seemed to be a light-hearted and slap-stick story and suddenly something dark and tragic would be thrown in. The rape/murder of a homosexual, the killings of innocent by-standers in a political rally, killing a boy to 'save' him from hanging. I suppose this would make a good melodrama.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is one of the best books I have read for a long time. You follow Ned through the West and feel like you are there with him. It is a great western for women and men alike. It was a great book. I can see myself reading it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Turpentine's cover and promotional materials promise a wild Western tale. Instead the reader suffers through an implausible plot, inconsistent characters, and weak depiction of the region and its times. Jounced unsteadily from one incident to the next, seldom does the reader feel engaged with anyone, anything, or any place. The protagonist turns dark, the story lacks cohesion, and as for the West, most of the story takes place on the East Coast. A strong ending does give Turpentine a few genuinely good pages. It's ironic and illustrative, however, that the character you feel most engaged with is a horse that heroically plods to its death. It¿s sad to say the story dies with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not a typical western...but a good story presented in western form. Our hero has incredible adventures, meets interesting characters, and eventually triumphs. It was a little far fetched at times, but the overall reading experience was quite satisfying. If you are looking for something light and entertaining to read this would be an excellent choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had me both laughing out loud and then in tears. I felt I was there with Ned all the time and could feel his fear, disappointments, and loneliness. It's not your everyday shoot-em-up western it's real. I was sorry when it ended.