Far As the Eye Can See by Robert Bausch
There’s a television commercial in which a guy says,”I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis.” Well I don’t always read novels, but when I do I prefer them set in the West. Here’s a real good big-sky novel. The book wanders west and takes its time, meandering along the way to admire the sky and the glory of the country, and to pursue bumbling and regrettable Indian fights among other misadventures, right after the Civil War. There has always been a twisted entanglement between the American West and American masculinity: violence, independence, dreamy romanticism about the wilderness, ownership and possession of land, entrepreneurship, love of firearms, knives and horses, and other things. This book works that big field. One review I read said that Cormac McCarthy and Mark Twain are here together in this book. There’s the rewriting and demythologizing of the American West like McCarthy, and the wicked, wince-inducing eye of Twain. With all its crackling humor, tender observation and plain adult male confusion about things, in a time of national transition, I couldn’t wait to pick up where I left off the night before.