Book Notes: Wallace Stegner’s The Big Rock Candy Mountain

It took me forever to finish because the novel is 600 pages long, and it’s heavy stuff that I need time to process. But what a powerful book. It’s very autobiographical. Stegner writes about his extremely dysfunctional, abusive family that lived on the margins of society. How they managed to produce somebody who’d become a talented writer is one of the greatest mysteries of human existence. And it’s precisely what makes the novel so fascinating. His father was a murderer, for God’s sake.

Stegner was only 35 when he wrote The Big Rock, which is pretty incredible. It’s a male Bildungsroman of sorts but not of the stale, boring kind. I usually hate anything’s “based on a true story” but this true story is truly irresistible.

What an amazing writer. I’m thankful to my friend R who introduced me to him.

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