Ron Carlson: Return to Oakpine



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But Return to Oakpine made you long for those feelings and captured them so perfectly I know I m a bit of a sap but I thought this was really terrific This is a fast read but in this case this is not a good thing Fast because I was going through the motions but not rememberable I got about half way into the book Which I stopped at chapter 6 Yes this is a shorter book then my sual reading at 264 pages Anyways I went to pick p this book again to start reading it and promptly put it back down after a page and a half The reason for this is because I could not remember anything that happened in the first five chaptershalf of the book None of the characters were engaging with their back stories I did see some brief glimmer of promise that this book could be good but maybe for someone else Return to Oakpine is a portrait of western American life Set in the small town of Oakpine Wyoming four men are trying to make peace with who they are in the worldDecades ago these men were in a band while in high school Jimmy ended p leaving Oakpine when his brother tragically died He became a successful novelist but returns home from New York City after thirty years because he is dyingWe learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives Craig and Frank never left Mason a top lawyer in Denver is back in town to fix p and sell his parents house Now that they are reunited getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can doI won this book in a First Reads Goodreads giveaway My first reaction is that I m not the target audience Usually that doesn t make a difference but with this book it certainly did Unfortunately it didn t make a meaningful impact I found this read to be rather mundane and a struggle to get through With this kind of predictable plot I found Return to Oakpine just skimmed the surface of the characters I didn t find any of them engaging The main issue is that the book is just too short A coming of age story needs to have depth and this novel felt condensed The writing was decent enough to keep my attention to the end Had the author really dug deep and fleshed out characters I feel it would have been a captivating novel do 50 year olds ever have sex i ll not answer that author carlson sure doesn t think so some huggin bit of kissin a brief torso rub p but no sex shame the high school kids seem to fuck like rabbits in good ole oakpine but the 50 year olds nopethere was a good estion here though in amongst the reminiscences yuppies bitchin bout how hardddd life is being a yuppy a 50 year old yuppy what does a modern woman want A to save the folks in the burning house to put the fire out and to be saved from the burning house by those strong armscarlson is probably writing as beautifully as he ever has and cadences and plant life and political and social issues all spot on i like it better when his stories are about poor people though his yuppies are so sexless perhaps carlson has spent too long in huntington beach califa that could very easily skew anyone s perspective horses and broke cowboys next time please ron carlson ps i DID cry during the battle of the bandsbest buddy dying of aidsboy girl hookup finale a little anyway Whether you ve been one of the multitudes following Ron Carlson for years or have only now come across him this is a book you re sure to treasure. D In high school these men were in a band One of them Jimmy left Oakpine for New York City after the tragic death of his brother A successful novelist he has returned thirty years later in 1999 because he is dying With Carlson’s characteristic grace we learn what has become of these friends and the different directions of their lives Cr.

I m a big fan of books that chronicle the reunion of childhood friends long separated The opportunity to relate as an adult to people who knew you when you were younger to see how life has affected them and let them see how it has affected you are tremendously compelling narrative devices and if you combine those with a little bit of emotional poignancy you ve got a winner as far as I m concerned So it should come as no surprise that I was tterly taken in by Ron Carlson s wonderful new novel Return to OakpineIn the late 1960s Craig Ralston Jimmy Brand Mason Kirby and Frank Gunderson were inseparable friends in the small town of Oakpine Wyoming During high school they formed a band called interchangeably The Rangemen Wildfire and Life on Earth The band brought a fervent excitement to their lives and their small town and through all of the practices and performances their friendships deepened The Grand Sophy until one day a tragic accident claimed the life of Jimmy s older brother Matt the town s most highly regarded athlete Unable to deal with his parents reaction to the accident as well as his own homosexuality Jimmy left Oakpine shortly thereafter moving to New York to become a well established writerThirty years later Jimmy destitute and dying of AIDS returns to Oakpine Banished by his father to live in the refurbished garage Jimmy renews contact with his old friends Craig and Frank never left the town Craig took over his family s hardware store while Frank owns a restaurantbar Mason became a successful lawyer in Colorado but returns home to sell his parents house and finds himself caughtp in his friends lives again while dealing with the dissolution of his marriage and ncertainty about his futureMeanwhile Craig s son Larry a high school senior is dealing with many of the same problems his father and his friends did 30 years ago Caught between loyalty to his best friend Wade and his love for Wade s girlfriend Wendy he is ready to leave Oakpine for good after high school although he and Wendy develop a close relationship with Jimmy And Craig and Frank both must deal with the women in their lives as wellIt is both nostalgia and Jimmy s looming mortality that push the four to reunite their band This decision opens p old feelings brings back long forgotten memories and joys and pushes them toward the future but a future faced together not apartRon Carlson is a fantastic writer In his previous books I ve loved both his se of language and imagery to capture both emotions and the evocative nature of the West But I feel he s tterly outdone himself with Return to Oakpine It s a familiar story one you ve read before and one whose ending you can predict but it is so beautifully told so emotionally poignant it s still as powerful as if you had never read a story with this plot before While some of the characters Harveys Revised English Grammar uirks particularly in dialogue took a little gettingsed to I found myself torn between wanting to devour the story as Como agua para chocolate uickly as possible and wanting to savor it for as long as I could because I knew I would be sad when it endedIf a person was raised here he knows the way the light falls in this town on any given week even you who have been absent for years That isn t true for any other place for youGoing home after being away for so long isn t always easy and reconnecting with old friends doesn t always work the way you hope it will. From a widely admired author a poignant novel about homecoming friendship growingp and growing old for fans of Richard Ford and Richard Russo In this finely wrought portrait of western American life Ron Carlson takes s to the small town of Oakpine Wyoming and into the lives of four men trying to make peace with who they are in the worl.

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Decades ago the four members of a small town garage band came together and captured something essential about youth Now one a prodigal who has lived in self imposed exile has returned home to die How this shakes things p for the rich ensemble cast of enthralling characters gives Carlson a chance to juxtapose the whimsy joys and heartaches of being young with the hard fought concessions and acceptance of experience Full of lovely sentences lovely scenes of course it will have you floating through your own memories but it also will make you take stock of where you are now This is a deeply moving novel from a masterful writer Is there any pen Ron Carlson touches that doesn t turn to goldI ve fallen headlong in love with every book he s written with the exception of the best forgotten Betrayed by F Scott Fitzgerald an early clunker from 1977 His short story collection At the Jim Bridger is damn near perfect The Signal is a harrowing story of wilderness survival and you won t find a better novel about blue collar work than in the pages of Five SkiesIn Return to Oakpine Carlson turns a sentimental eye perhaps too sentimental for some readers on life in a small town Thirty years after they graduated high school four friends reunite in their hometown the fictional Oakpine Wyoming Frank a hardware store owner and Craig a bartender never left Mason a freshly divorced lawyer comes back to Oakpine from Denver looking for a change an end some new chapter in this old life And then there s Jimmy who left Oakpine for DNF on page 8Life is just too short for thisLook I love Ron Carlson Truly As an author of literary fiction and as a person I enjoyed reading his novels Five Skies and The Signal I have enjoyed his short stories But the 2013 literary novel Return to Oakpine threw p too many red flags in the opening pages for me to continueThe plot of th Did I enjoy this book I spent the first two hundred pages wondering if perhaps I m not ite old enough to enjoy a book as notstalgic as Return to Oakpine I didn t notice I d fallen in love Multiple Mayhem (Gabby Duran until I d nearly finished reading and now I m wishing I d have read slowly and enjoyed it a bit insert Yo Dawg meme here The whole everything is like high school theme was a bit too blatant for my taste and MILD SPOILER ALERT the timing of Jimmy s death was just a touch too convenient to be believable Ultimately though Carlson s written a lovely book about human nature that I m glad I read Would I recommend it You ll love it if you re in the mood for nostalgiaAs reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Reviews Disclosure I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest reviewhttpeveryfreechancecom201503me This book was just okay for me The story was so so and even though there were a couple of times when I could relate to the story and the characters it just didn t click for me 2013 264 pagesthe jacket of this book is a terrific setp for the story I just needed a hammock to read this tender story of men reuniting after a 30 year separation just due to life choicesThis is a story of how a small town tragedy affected all 4 men and some of the women they knew High school memories are shared a garage band was created whose speciality was Help me Rhonda and hearts are healedBe prepared to laugh and cry Be prepared to remember your first days in high school Be prepared to look for page. Aig and Frank never left; Mason a top lawyer in Denver is back in town to fix p and sell his parents’ house Now that they are reunited getting the band back together might be the most important thing they can do Return to Oakpine is a generous tender look at friendship family and the roads not taken by a writer at the peak of his craft.

Ron Carlson is an American novelist and writer of short storiesCarlson was born in Logan Utah but grew up in Salt Lake City He earned a masters degree in English from the University of Utah He then taught at The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut where he started his first novelHe became a professor of English at Arizona State University in 1985 teaching creative writing to undergraduates and