Reviews in 200 Words

West of Last Chance by Peter Brown and Kent Haruf

In Fiction on April 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm

The Great Plains are stunning; also, they’re forgotten and brutal and raw. Peter Brown’s photographs are clear and dramatic. Kent Haruf’s text fills in the soul of the land. And there is nothing like this land and the people who inhabit it. Be set into a trance. These images are so stark that they’ll make you ache. They’ll remind you of what honesty really means. You can’t fake these roads, these fields, their animals, the people who keep them going, the rust. These places have hand-painted signs, and pick-up trucks that have earned their keep. Lots of things have not changed. And some things have. Wal-Mart exists. But old cafes and diners are still there, barely. Churches and cowboys and swing-sets. Haruf invents these characters, many of them, but they’re real people. This is real life. Seeing this land, Brown’s ability to capture it, and reading the narrative, is perhaps the finest definition of “collaboration.” Each road, each sky, each busted up old car or mailbox, is like something your grandfather told you to remember.  It seems to me nothing man has done or built on this land is an improvement over what was here before. 

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