The award-winning tale of a mountain pioneer woman in the 1890s, reflecting the hardships and rewards of life in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. An excellent fictional account... "A beautiful piece of American Storytelling."
I read this book in two sittings. The story is a hard one; a woman homesteading alone in harsh surroundings. The woman lived a difficult past so her courage comes hard-won and the circumstances she faces living and working all by herself to make a home takes all of it. The characters in the book are all unique and believable. The writing style is a little different; no long-winded descriptions or details but the reader sees it all perfectly. A writer of lesser talent would have taken this story all over the place, adding dozens or hundreds of pages to make sure the reader 'gets it.' I could sit right down now and read it again, it was that good. Highly recommended.
I adore stories of pioneer, survival type women so this was right up my street. A bit choppy in places, but not enough to deter reading on about her struggles. I am a questioner, and wonder about some practicalities which this woman had to have encountered, but still believable. Good descriptive writing and authentic feeling of the time. The ending a bit abrupt, left to the reader's own wrap up really, which I didn't mind. Ldybritt
Beautifully written, low-key, with the truthfulness of life itself.
Molly Gloss excels at stories of life on the edge: one of my very favorite novels is "The Dazzle of Day," her beautifully written, low-key and truthful story of a group of Quakers who flee political and ecological chaos on Earth in a generation starship headed for a distant star. "The Jump-Off Creek" reverses the polarity of Gloss' imaginative time-machine, and recreates world of the 1890s Oregon frontier, and the life of Lydia Sanderson, a young widow who has sold up all the baggage of her unhappy marriage and bought a smallholding in Oregon, with little more ambition than, for the first time in her life being her own boss, and keeping body and soul together.
Encounters with her neighbours -- fellow smallholders, scraping a living from the land during a depression that is adding to the general struggle to survive, their wives, who raise and bury children, and long for brief opportunities for female companionship, and "wolfers," embittered young cowboys who scrape a living from the bounty they receive for killing the wolves that prey on cattle and sheep -- build up to a narrative of her first year in her new home on the Jump-off Creek.
I can't think of any way to put it better than the late, Blessed Ursula Le Guin, who described it as " ... the West behind the swaggering and hokum." A marvellous story of the quiet courage that went into the settling of America.