"Joe Wilkins has a big, true, highway-running American voice. When you see a new book of his, you should celebrate. Just buy it, put down the window, and let the music blow back your hair. It's nothing but alive." – Luis Alberto Urrea
Pleased to see that The Mountain and the Fathers is featured today on Powell’s Bookstore’s Daily Dose, a newsletter featuring recent reader comments. Thanks, Stuart in Fort Collins, for the kind, perceptive comments about The Mountain and the Fathers:
This is a tremendously powerful narrative of growing up in a harsh and unforgiving climate with a way and manner of life that few probably understand exists in the modern US today. Having lost his father at a young age, the author explores where he found example, guidance and protection as well as where he failed to find those components in the community that exists uniquely in Big Dry and Hi-line of Montana. Wilkins is very successful in conveying how the landscape and community reduce most elements of life to essentials and ways of escape. The story of what the author had to do to keep the coal burning furnace running and how that was just a fact of life no different that eating or sleeping had a strong effect on the perspective that readers can glean from the comparison to the truly few serious trials that most of us face on a daily basis.
A great read and one that has a great deal of staying power. I’ve known a fair number of people who grew up in that area of Montana and Wilkins story rings very true. The Mountain and the Fathers can provide a valuable relief against which to gauge the “inconveniences” of life as well as the effect of recognizing where a father-less boy finds the attributes in men that he will absorb and live up to as well as those he can reject and how to compare himself to the stories and perception of dead father who in some ways has been mythologized.