The Last Cowboy

by Lee Gowan | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0676975836 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingPooker3wing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 5/15/2010
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingPooker3wing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Saturday, May 15, 2010
Purchased from the National Garage Sale for Shelter, one half the proceeds of which will be directed to Osborne House in Winnipeg and the other half to violence-prevention programs across the country (this year toward education of students in grades 8 and 9 about violence prevention and unsafe dating).

I plan to release this book later this year for gypsysmom's Canada Day release challenge in celebration of Canadian books and authors.

Journal Entry 2 by wingPooker3wing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, August 03, 2010
So, I didn't release this book as planned. I read it instead, largely due to being attracted by the cover blurb from The Globe and Mail, "An engaging book that is at once funny, poignant and a razor-sharp image of that most tender and terrible of entities: the family."

Well I'm a sucker for books about families and I loved every moment of reading this one. This despite the fact that elder of the two Sams (the elder being Sam McMahon, a reluctantly retired Saskatchewan farmer, the younger being his grandson and namesake) is the most odious, bigoted, sexist, cantankerous, rude, pig-headed, opinionated bugger I'd ever hope not to meet.

Elder Sam has given over the farm to his son, younger Sam's father, and he's regretting every minute of it. Being a farmer was what defined him. But times have changed and Sam senior bemoans that - the old ways were and are, for him, the best.

The story flips back and forth from 2000 to 1970. In 2000, the younger Sam is an adult with a wife and sons of his own. But he eschewed farming and became a banker instead. He wears Italian suits and listens to classical music and can't understand why his colleagues down east insist on calling him, "Cowboy". As the story opens his wife of 14 years has announced that she's wants a separation and Sam is alone in his beautiful house faced with the thought that he might be alone for the rest of his life.

In 1970, old Sam, sees his namesake, who is only 10, as having little in common with him and not fit to carry his name into the future, a result of having been glued to the idiot box - "a longhaired, weak-kneed, bed-wetting boy who is already old - who prefers to spend his days looking through glass rather than be out taking part in the world." So one night he takes the boy out in a raging blizzard on horseback to find a cow that he just knows it out there somewhere. Miraculously and to the boys amazement, he finds the cow but on the way back home he loses his grandson and believes him dead. Old Sam doesn't want to hang around, a burden to his family and ever the grandson killer, so he wanders off one night in the freezing cold, without his jacket and becomes lost. He's rescued by a native couple, the woman's name is Irene and Sam mistakes her for an angel. His dying words are "Irene, Irene." The native couple run into trouble with the police when they rescue Sam and they high-tail it out of town at their first opportunity only to drive over a cliff.

In 2000, Sam the younger is picked up at the side of the highway where his wife has ditched him, suitcase and all, by a young woman, Ai Lee. Ai Lee is a film location scout in town looking for the perfect cliff for a movie. "The Last Cowboy. She changed her name to Ai, because she didn't like her birth name, Irene.

Although the story flips back and forth thirty years, it is not at all difficult to follow. When it flips you regret leaving that scene behind despite looking forward to following the thread you had previously left. And although, as I've said, Sam senior is really most obnoxious his mutterings about himself and the state of the world are most hilarious.

An entertaining first read of this author and I'll be sure to look out for more.

Journal Entry 3 by wingPooker3wing at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Released 9 yrs ago (8/11/2010 UTC) at Park Theatre & Movie Cafe in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

WILD RELEASE NOTES:


I'll take this book to our meeting tonight. If no takers, I'll leave it on the shelf in the loft.
Happy trails to you until we meet again. :)

Journal Entry 4 by judysh at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Picked up at the September bookxing meetup at the Park Theatre Cafe.

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