The Son by Phillipp Meyer

web-The-Son-Book-CoverThis was a selection by one of my bookclubs and I can honestly say that if it hadn’t been I probably never would have picked it up but I’m so glad I did.

The synopsis makes it sound a bit like some western from the 50s and doesn’t do it justice. It charts the story of 4 generations over approximately 150 years, charting the development of Texas from the frontier period to the 21st century, and in many respects the development of America in a microcosm.

There are three narrators who all provide a different perspective on the events which shape the family. Eli is without a doubt the most charismatic and likeable, despite engaging in activities which from a modern perspective are despicable. Peter and Jeanie while less charismatic, and in Peters case at times downright annoying, they provide an important contrast to Eli’s narrative.

The level of detail, and amount of research Meyer must have undertaken, is outstanding. There is a tendency to romantise the past, something this book completely avoids. While the characters may lemgent the destruction of the landscape and are often nostalgic for the past, Meyer pulls no punches in his portrayal of the harshness of life over the time period.

I would have no reservations recommending it to anyone. In fact I’ve convinced one of my other bookclus to read it this month. It is so much more then the western it seems at first glance.

Rating: 5/5

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