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Red Rover Hardcover – August 2, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (August 2, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670063509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670063505
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,186,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. McNamer (My Russian; One Sweet Quarrel) returns with a haunting novel of love, friendship and faith set in a world where none of those values triumphs. Brothers Neil and Aidan Tierney grow up on the prairies of pre–WWII Montana, and after Pearl Harbor Neil becomes a B-29 pilot in the Pacific, and Aidan joins the FBI and is assigned to covert duty in Argentina. Upon their return in 1946, Neil establishes a life, but Aiden is dying of a mysterious disease and embittered by what he saw and did during the war. His threats to go public with bureau business call back to his life Roland Taliaferro, also an FBI agent, whose alcoholism has put his career on the rocks. In short order, Aiden is found dead, an apparent suicide by shotgun. Neil suspects a coverup, but he has no way of disproving the official report. McNamer gradually reveals the truth of the matter, drawing in characters whose connections initially appear ancillary. McNamer's insight into her damaged cast generates a deep emotional response that builds toward a reunion and revelation that bring satisfaction, if not peace. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As boys, brothers Aidan and Neil Tierney ride the Montana prairie on horseback, yearning for adventure. As men, they find it: Neil pilots a B-29 over Japan, while Aidan hunts Nazis in Argentina for the FBI. But although they both return from the war, Aidan proves a casualty nonetheless. Sickened by a mysterious ailment, suffering almost more from disillusionment, he won't survive 1946. Spanning the years 1927 through 2003 and employing richly layered, interlocking points of view, McNamer teases out the surprising truth behind Aidan's death, portraying an era of idealism and of myopia and paranoia. If the high plains and deep valleys of Montana seem an unlikely place to play out the cynical spy hunting of the J. Edgar Hoover era, modern-day echoes—allegations of profiteering in Iraq—remind us that no place on earth is too remote to be touched by the prevailing winds. This loses a bit of pace in the middle, but the powerful ending rewards the time spent getting there. Elegant and assured, with a joy in language that shows on every page. Graff, Keir

More About the Author

Deirdre McNamer, a granddaughter of Montana homesteaders, grew up in several small towns in northcentral Montana. In addition to One Sweet Quarrel (a New York Times Notable Book of 1994), she is the author of the acclaimed novels Rima in the Weeds (winner of the 1992 Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Award), My Russian (a New York Times Notable Book of 1999), and Red Rover (winner of the 2007 Montana Book Award from the Montana Library Association, and named a Best Book of 2007 by Artforum, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Bloomberg News, and the Rocky Mountain News). She teaches creative writing at the University of Montana.

This profile was written by Valerie Hemingway:

Customer Reviews

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The story is fascinating.
S. Abeyta
It was for me one of those rare reads where once you start you cannot put the book down until you've reached the end.
Reader B
The reader is left (purposely) with more than one possible interpretation of the whole crux of the story.
Jim Curry

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Brothers Aiden and Neil Tierney grew up as best friends riding horses in Big Sky Country. After Pearl Harbor brought the United States in to the war, they both left Montana to volunteer to help their country. Aiden became an undercover FBI agent working to out Nazis setting up a beachhead in Argentina; while Neil joins the Air Force. Both survived their WWII endeavors.

Aiden and Neil return to Montana following the V-J Day armistice that ended the hostilities. However, instead of rejoicing in their safe return, Aiden is extremely ill and unable to even mount a horse. During Christmas 1946, the local coroner determines he committed suicide. Neil rejects the official ruling as he knows his sibling was a fighter and was battling the crippling disease. After the funeral, Aiden's friend FBI agent Roland Taliaferro insists Hoover will soon tell them the truth. However, the letter from the "the Old Man" director never comes and Taliaferro is retired. Over the six decades, Neil longs to know what happened to Aiden, but it takes cataract surgery to provide him the truth.

One of the best historical tales of the year, RED ROVER starts with Lindbergh in 1927, goes through WW II and its immediate aftermath, and finally winds down in the twenty-first century. The story line easily makes the quantum leaps seem natural mostly because the two siblings seem real in every era they appear. Readers will appreciate this strong vivid look at much of the American century (and a bit more) while wondering like Neil what truly happened to Aiden as every conspiratorial theory will cross your mind until the closure provided with an incredible climax.

Harriet Klausner
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A reader on September 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book because I am interested in Montana, but it turned out to be much more than "a Montana novel." It's an unusual mystery story, a meditation on memory, a book about what is hidden from sight in even the most familiar surroundings. The further I read, the more deeply absorbed I became, as the book shifted points of view and time frames, and each character filled in pieces that were left out from other character's accounts. I have rarely read such an unusual combination of fine, traditional storytelling and complex thinking about "the truth." It is very beautifully written, and it haunts me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on October 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The end-flap of the dust jacket on this book relates a storyline extracted from it that sounds straightforward enough, but McNamer has written something far more complex and fascinating. She tells a story with a beginning, middle and an end, but not at all in that order. While the narrative is set almost entirely in Montana, timelines jump back and forth between 1927, 1939, 1944-46, and 2003. There's an extensive catalog of characters who get their time on center stage, their stories sometimes overlapping with others. Meanwhile, the supposed central characters disappear for long periods of time and we learn about them only indirectly.

Sounds maybe complicated, but I found the novel absorbing from beginning to end. Part of that owes to the subject matter. Two G-men employed by J. Edgar Hoover's wartime FBI start out as friends, and then something happens that sets them at odds. A young brother outlives his older brother by more than 50 years, but memory continues to bind them together. And in what seems to be a random universe, where people live and then die as if life itself were a plague, there are chance parallels like a B-29 running out of fuel as it returns from a bombing mission to Tokyo and a car running out of gas in a Montana snowstorm. Much of what makes the novel absorbing owes to McNamer's wonderful way with language, which is often poetic and haunting in its use of metaphor to capture nuances of emotion, attitude, and physical sensation. It's not a book you speed read. It's meant to be savored and puzzled over at a more leisurely pace. It's a book to get lost in; I heartily recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By deeper waters on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I approached this book with trepidation after totally disliking "Rima in the Weeds". While the author writes poetically and with feeling, it was a less than satisfying experience. The book created mosaic of disappointment, dishonesty, betrayal, fragmented relationships, and the inability to make adequate sense of one's self and life even with the passage of time. Not only was the story told from a variety of perspectives of both person and generation, the deeper issues that McNamer explored or could be perceived to explore, were equally scattered. This could be a good choice for a reflective discussion by a book club.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beth on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
First, no, RED ROVER is not a book about a dog. Deidre McNamer could have chosen a better title for this very moving story.

And whoever chose the cover (or dust jacket) should have picked something less misleading. If they had, I probably would have read this 2007 book sooner. But this picture gives a false impression; RED ROVER begins with two boys riding horses, but it soon moves forward in time and to other Montana locations.

RED ROVER is a mystery. After Aidan Tierney goes to college and law school, he joins the FBI and requests hazardous duty. He is sent as a secret agent to Argentina and returns to the U.S. a very, very sick man. Soon he is dead.

The mystery of RED ROVER is how and why Aidan died, and who is responsible. Was it suicide, an accident, or murder?

So RED ROVER looks at characters who played parts in Aidan's life. We see some characters beginning when they were children and study characters' lives before, during, and after World War II. We see events from more than one perspective as the parts of the book take us back and forth in time, right up to 2003 when most characters are in their 80s and 90s.

RED ROVER is a short book, 264 pages. It covers so much time and so many character studies, this could easily be a monstrosity. Many, maybe most, authors would have included details and whole paragraphs that would bore most readers. But RED ROVER's descriptions and character studies are tight, with no wasted words. So what could have been tedious is, instead, engrossing.

It is also interesting to note that McNamer felt she had to write this. It is based on the story of her uncle, originally meant to be nonfiction.
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