THE SOJOURN by Andrew Krivak

World War I was the deadliest conflict in Western history, but contemporary portrayals of war in literature and cinema primarily focus on examples of combat from the past fifty or sixty years. At a time when the Great War is receding into the annals of distant history, this elegiac and edifying novel has been released–a small, slim but powerful story of a young soldier, Josef Vinich, who hails from a disenfranchised and impoverished family in rural Austria-Hungary.

May 25, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Austria, Coming-of-Age, Debut Novel, Facing History, Reading Guide, US Frontier West, World Lit

WORK SONG by Ivan Doig

These days, one of the more famous attractions in Butte, Montana, is the Berkeley pit—a crater full of acidic water and toxic heavy metals. Now one of the costliest Superfund sites in the country, the pit is a remnant of what was once a roaring industry in the city—copper mining. Before the open pit mining technique as exemplified by the Berkeley pit took over the countryside, much of the copper mining in Butte was carried out underground.

It is this underground copper mining industry that forms the backdrop for Ivan Doig’s latest novel, Work Song. Set around 1918 and early 1919, shortly after the end of World War I, it includes a colorful assortment of characters and backdrops. Chief among these is the protagonist, Morrie Morgan, who, as the novel opens, has just arrived in Butte to make a fortune from “The Richest Hill on Earth.”

June 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Reading Guide, US Northwest, Wild West