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Red Sky at Morning: A Novel (Perennial Classics) Paperback – May 5, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Bradford believes in the human comedy the way DiMaggio believes in baseball, the way Nureyev believes in the dance, the way people, no matter what, believe in laughing when they might just as well be weeping." -- Richard Condon

"Zaniness is the keynote for the book, which can be read without boredom, mainly because the author is a charmer in delineating incidents in concrete, specific detail." -- Best Sellers

About the Author

Richard Bradford was born in 1932. He is also the author of So Far from Heaven.
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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Classics
  • Paperback: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (May 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060931906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060931902
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,404 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1997
Format: Paperback
My father read to me a passage from RED SKY AT MORNING when I was eleven. He was trying to get me interested in reading the book for myself and chose one of the more memorable scenes. I remember reading it and getting partway into the book and giving up. I just found nothing interesting to the story.

When I turned eighteen, I recalled the book my father told me about many years prior, and picked it up again. What a difference a few years made.

I've literally spent a year getting intimate with this novel. Memorizing every passage, and character development. It's a rare American novel that has very few equal. Many people compare RED SKY AT MORNING with J.D. Salinger's CATCHER IN THE RYE. Both are classic works of literature, and have a very honest look at adolescents, but that's where their similarities end. RED SKY AT MORNING is also a rich look in the life of not just one character, but an entire town as diverse as we are. We grow along-side with those from the small town called Corazon, Sagrado.

Frank Arnold decides to move his family from MOBILE, ALABAMA to a small town in New Mexico where Joshua (our Narrator) spends his Senior year of High School.

RED SKY AT MORNING can be seen as a coming of age story; but it's very much a coming of understanding story as well. The Arnolds came from a mostly White upper class background, where they were the Majority, but by moving to this small town, they are turned into the Minority overnight. Old habits die hard for some, but through exposure others come to accept those who are different.

This is a story that will make you laugh for days. It will make you cry the first time you read it, and the 9th time you read it. It's as bitter-sweet as life itself. I will never come across a book that has touched me as deeply as RED SKY AT MORNING.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By B.B. St. Marie on October 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's funny; I've read this book at least 10 times and I see from the reviews here that lots of people have seen fit to revisit Red Sky at Morning.
I, too, grew up in the "real" Sagrado. In fact, Bradford's son and I were briefly acquainted as teenagers. I think the book is more autobiographical than Bradford would like to admit; my aunt has said that almost all of the teenaged characters were recognizable as actual people at the local high school at that time--especially Chango.
Any time I'm homesick, all I have to do is reread the book and I'm right back home again. I'm glad that so many people from so many walks of life have enjoyed it as much as I have. It totally captures, very affectionately, all of the GOOD things about Northern New Mexico--things you wish would stay the same forever.
It's like Catcher in the Rye, but it's warmer. It lovingly represents the wholly unique people of Northern New Mexico, who are unlike people anywhere else in the world. But it also reflects human nature and adaptation through scenes of humor, pain, the clashing and meshing of cultures, and the inevitable unwelcome changes that come with the passage of time. Red Sky at Morning bears witness to the coming of age of Joshua Arnold--the futile battle to remain young and untouched by the uglier side of the world, the bittersweet and inevitable transformation of boy to man. It was originally an allegory, I believe, parelleling Josh's growing pains with those of a post-war America. Ironically, it is now an allegory for what has become of the "real" Corazon, Sagrado--full of bittersweet memories--the end of an old road and the beginning of newer, less innocent one.
Just beware: you won't be able to put it down and you WILL read it again and again. It really is that good.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By JD Cetola VINE VOICE on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Richard Bradford has written one of the finest coming of age novels out there. "Red Sky at Morning" is the story of Josh Arnold, his friends, his family, and his environment as he deals with the repercussions a middle aged (41) father enlisting in the WWII Armed Forces and a move to their sometimes summer home in what is called Sagrado (most likely Santa Fe), New Mexico.

Bradford has an eye for detail, masterful rapid-fire dialog, and that rare combination of comedy and poignancy. In some ways this novel brings to mind Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" or Ferrol Sams' terrific Porter Osborne Jr. Trilogy ("Run with the Horsemen", "Whisper of the River", "When All the World Was Young"). Similarities include the teenage protagonist with an influential father, amusing and well-drawn characters, and plenty of thought-provoking interactions and events. One thing that sets this novel apart is its Western setting. Bradford does a terrific job of painting life in New Mexico and what it's like to attend school and come of age in such a diverse and different environment from the Southern one (Mobile, AL) Josh was primarily accustomed to.

Josh is surrounded by colorful characters to include black servants in Alabama, hispanic servants in New Mexico, a minister's daughter (the hilarious Marcia), local classmates and townfolk, his Navy enlisted (ne shipbuilder) father, his more frequently pensive and recurringly drunken mother, the mooching/hayseed/epicene Jimbob, sheriff Chamaco, sculptor Romeo, and the extremely amusing Steenie (son of the town doctor).
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