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Crawfish Mountain: A Novel Hardcover – October 23, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (October 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375508767
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375508769
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #877,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Wells follows his Catahoula Bayou trilogy with this entertaining novel about imperiled Louisiana wetlands. Tom Huff, regional vice president of Standard of Texas Oil Company—Big Tex in fictional Chacahoula Parish—wants to route a pipeline through the treasured tract of bayou that Justin Pitre inherited from his grandfather. With the help of Juke Charpentier—a bully with a Big Tex expense account—Huff will do anything to gain access to Justin's land. Compounding the threat are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' plans to dredge a shipping channel and Huff's secret, illegal dumping of toxic waste in the bayou. Drawn into the center of this morass is Gov. Joe T. Evangeline, who, two years after his wife's death, is having a hard time keeping up his bon vivant image. Julie Galjour, a smart and attractive attorney with the Department of Environmental Conservation, however, is determined to persuade the Guv to make the right decisions—and also, perhaps, to draw him out of his malaise. The plot's many wild turns and feel-good ending may remind readers of Carl Hiaasen's novels. Wells is a native of southern Louisiana, and his love of Cajun culture and its patois, food and ties to the landscape shines throughout. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Wells knows the lingo and rhythms of Cajun language and culture as only a native can, and his depiction of the lowlife Junior and his twisted psyche is gritty and humorous." --Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Ken Wells, novelist and journalist, grew up in a beer-drinking family deep in South Louisiana's Cajun bayou country. His father was a part-time alligator hunter and snake collector and his mother a gumbo chef extraordinaire. Second of six sons, Wells began his journalism career covering car wrecks and gator sightings for the weekly Houma, La., Courier newspaper.
He has gone on to an illustrious career: a Pulitzer Prize finalist for the Miami Herald; editor of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning projects for Page One of The Wall Street Journal where, over a 24-year period, he also roamed the globe covering the first Persian Gulf War, South Africa's transition to a multiracial democracy and many other stories. He has since worked as senior editor for Conde Nast Portfolio magazine and is now an editor-at-large for Bloomberg News, writing and editing longform narrative journalism for Bloomberg's projects and investigations team.
Wells is the author of four well-received novels of the Cajun bayous: Meely LaBauve (a 2000 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers book); Junior's Leg (2001); Logan's Storm (2002); and Crawfish Mountain (2007).
He has also penned two non-fiction books: Travels with Barley: a Quest for the Perfect Beer Joint (2004), a travelogue through America's $75 billion beer industry; and The Good Pirates of the Forgotten Bayous, a story of blue-collar heroism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Pirates, published in September 2008 by Yale University Press, was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize and won the Harry Chapin book award in September 2009.
His fifth novel, Rascal, a Dog and His Boy, will be published by Knopf-Random House Young Adult in September 2010. He is currently working on a memoir.
Wells lives in New York City, where he continues on his quest to find the Perfect Beer Joint and dabbles in his hobbies that include photography and song-writing. He often wishes he were fishing.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ted Feit VINE VOICE on November 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Too often a novel based on an author's pet peeves falls flat. That is not the case in this novel, which combines environmental issues, corporate greed and political shenanigans, with bribery, love affairs and blackmail thrown in. The story is told with the background of the Louisiana Wetlands and the power of the oil interests in the state in the forefront.

At the heart of the story is the degradation of the bayou ecosystem and the effects on the coastal areas, which led to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Justin Pitre's grandfather bought acres of pristine marshland, built a "shack" there, fished and trapped, living a happy life. He left it to Justin, asking him not to let any changes take place. When a greedy oil executive tries to cut a pipeline through it, all hell breaks loose.

The characters include a charismatic Governor (not quite a Huey Long), and true-to-life, loveable Cajuns, among others. The tale is well-told, although this reviewer found the wrap-up somewhat contrived. Nevertheless, it is a most enjoyable read, and, given the time, it probably would be well worth the effort to go back and read the previous Catahoula trilogy, which we missed.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Loraine Despres on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ken Wells takes us into the bayou for a look at a culture rarely seen and too little appreciated, a culture at risk. He has done the nearly impossible: he's written an ecological novel that's beautifully researched and true, and at the same time is funny, heartwarming, and filled with characters you won't easily forget, from the Cajun governor to the venial oil magnate and his mysterious mistress. This is story telling at its best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith on April 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Crawfish Mountain gives the reader an insight to a time not so long ago. As boy who grew up on Little Bayou Black who worked in the oilfield, Ken Wells story rings true. Oil king pins, threatened jobs, amoral boat operators, sheriffs operating out of both sides of the law, illegal chemical dumps were real. Wells masterfully tells the tale in such a way that it doesn't get the reader too riled up. Wells paints a vivid picture of what is at stake in South Louisiana. His legacy is that he has introduced the larger world to a unique culture and environment that is slowly vanishing as it washes away into the Gulf of Mexico. If we don't start fighting to save South Louisiana, Wells' ultimate legacy is that his writings will preserve a culture and place that vanished before our very eyes.
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