The Country Ahead of Us, The Country Behind (Vintage Contemporaries)

by David Guterson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0679767185 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingsoffitta1wing of Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on 5/28/2006
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingsoffitta1wing from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Sunday, May 28, 2006
Picked this up at Shakespeare's (a 2nd hand bookshop in Prague) as I had already read "Snow falling on Cedars" and "Our lady of the forest".

This is a book of short stories, giving glimpses into different lives, with the recurring themes of nature, growing up and discovery. As with many a book of short stories, you are left wanting to find out more about the characters. I particularly enjoyed the disturbing undertones of "Piranhas" and the poignancy of "The flower garden".

Released 13 yrs ago (6/10/2006 UTC) at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom

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Taking the book to the meetup.

Released as part of the 2006 Never Judge a Book By Its Cover challenge.

Journal Entry 3 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, June 11, 2006
Hi Soffitta1 - it was good to meet you today at Caffe Nero (no longer a meet-up virgin!), and thanks for thinking of me with this book :)

(23/02) I've had this quite a long time - but finished now :) Review to follow

Journal Entry 4 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 27, 2007
To my embarassment I didn’t connect the title with the recurring themes in these short stories until about 2/3’s through; reflections on lost youth from old age ‘the country behind’, and, coming of age dilemmas, ‘the country ahead of us’...sometimes both together. I like Guterson as a writer of novels and was impressed that he could constrain his expansive and descriptive style into this form, although in most cases we are left with subtle elegiac tales, still set largely in his beloved Pacific North West.

From the blurb, ‘...Guterson’s characters go into the wilderness in search of mallards or silver trout, they discover other things instead: the decay of their youthful ardor; the motiveless cruelty of strangers; their own capacity for deception and grief.’

The old men in Opening Day, Arcturus and American Elm have a dignified pathos; the lost youth/opportunities in Day of the Moonwalk and The Flower Garden are infinitely sadder. Piranhas is just plain weird (unusual in this collection).

Journal Entry 5 by smallbluepebble from Ilford, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I picked up this book during my Easter break in Suffolk. Set against a stark North American landscape, each of these stories has a theme of loss; from the loss of love, through the loss of youth, to the loss of hope and self worth. Though rather bleak, I enjoyed meeting this series of strange, unhappy characters.

Journal Entry 6 by smallbluepebble from Ilford, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 11, 2007
After posting my journal entry, I saw the comments of the previous two readers. I have to agree, there was something deeply disturbing about Piranhas; "Paul imagined how it might be to kill his parents. The thought caused him only minor remorse, because he felt certain they deserved it, somehow." As Soffita1 said, these skilful stories leave us wondering what on earth comes next....

Released 12 yrs ago (5/27/2007 UTC) at Redbridge Green Fair, Valentines Park in Ilford, Essex United Kingdom

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