Title: Early Americana
Author: Conrad Richter
In: The Mammoth Book of Westerns (Jon E. Lewis)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Westerns
Dates read: 17th June 2020
Format: Short story
5th sentence, 74th page: Their place was back in a gentler land where farmers hever heard of turning a furrow with a rifle lashed to the plough handles and where, on a Sunday morning, his mother used to say, she could still remember the peaceful sound of church bells drifiting across the blue-grass.
Life on the frontier is not always easy. But there is always a beautiful, feminine light at the end of the tunnel.
I really loved the setting description in this short story. Again, being a Western, I wasn’t completely hooked on it. But it was so beautifully described, so that helped to draw me in in a way that many of the other stories in The Mammoth Book of Westerns hasn’t been able to.
I really loved the book ending in this story. It starts with a wedding, and ends with one. Alright, the first wedding has a bit of a tragedy surrounding it… but there is still that fantastic beginning and hope for the future. And you end up finishing this short story with the hope that even if the first wedding ending tragically… there will be a positive ending to the final wedding.
This is one of those short stories that really doesn’t try and glorify the trials of life on the frontier. It is brutal and cruel. And completely tragic. Although, there is a great sense of light at the end of the story.