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The Wandering Hill (Berrybender Narrative, Bk 2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 13, 2003

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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743233034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743233033
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

The Wandering Hill, the second volume in Larry McMurtry's The Berrybender Narratives, retains the humor of the first installment, Sin Killer, while establishing a more meditative mood. Picking up where Sin Killer left off, The Wandering Hill finds noble English family the Berrybenders waiting out the oncoming winter at a high plains trading post, delaying their hunting expedition through the frontier-era American west. Tight confines force the spirited, bickering Berrybenders to contend with one another, as well as an assortment of colorful attendants and raw trappers. Conflict has arisen between fiery and very pregnant heroine Tasmin and her stoical, evangelical mountain man husband Jim Snow, a.k.a. Sin Killer. Selfish, randy patriarch Lord Berrybender, having lost a leg, seven toes, and three fingers thus far on their journey (though not his "favorite appendage"), is slowly losing his sanity. Malicious youngest child Mary begins an odd pseudo-sexual friendship with naturalist Piet Van Wely, while "foppish" heir Bobbety's no less ambiguous relationship with priest Father Geoffrin inspires his father to accidentally stick his son in the eye with a fork. In between many such self-inflicted disasters, three children are born, fierce native tribes attack, a man is sewn into a buffalo carcass, and many lives are lost, often in the presence of a strange, mobile hill whose legendary appearance signals impending doom. McMurtry, meanwhile, continues the momentum he built with Sin Killer, offering graceful storytelling, wonderfully dimensional realism, and deadpan wit. The wintry Wandering Hill, however, diverges from Sin Killer's madcap activity to further consider the inner lives of many of its splendid characters. McMurtry will have his fans clamoring for an answer, though delighting in his wandering path toward a resolution. --Ross Doll

From Publishers Weekly

This is the second volume in McMurtry's four-book series the Berrybender Narratives, following last year's Sin Killer. Set in 1833 along the banks of the Yellowstone River, the comedic melodrama mixes unwashed mountain men with an arrogant, obnoxious and uncouth family of English aristocrats in a saga of high violence, low morals and lusty copulation. Lord Berrybender and his brood of selfish bumbling children, servants and mistress are touring the American West, shooting every animal in sight. The lord is a one-legged, drunken satyr who cares only for his own pleasure, and pokes his son's eye out with a fork. The rest of the family is just as self-centered and irresponsible. Eldest daughter Tasmin, a vulgar, opinionated woman, is married to enigmatic mountain man Jim Snow, known as the Sin Killer for his fervent brutality in the punishment of sin (not his own, of course). He cannot understand why Tasmin willfully refuses to be more like his two Indian wives, silent, obedient and submissive. Still, their love is passionate and so are their fistfights. The English group and a bunch of smelly, hairy mountain men winter over at a trading post through months of quarrels, meanness and downright coarse behavior, while marauding Sioux under the command of a white man-hating war chief called the Partezon gruesomely torture and slaughter any white they can catch. McMurtry tosses in famous hunters and mountain men like Hugh Glass, Kit Carson and Tom Fitzpatrick, plus a buffalo stampede, grizzly bears and an Indian ambush, but these are just props to support the soap-opera antics of the Berrybender clan. A few folks manage to get themselves killed, but there are plenty of annoying Englishmen left to people the next two volumes.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove. His other works include two collections of essays, three memoirs, and more than thirty screenplays, including the coauthorship of Brokeback Mountain, for which he received an Academy Award. His most recent novel, When the Light Goes, is available from Simon & Schuster. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

Customer Reviews

Excellent adventure, unforgettable characters, fascinating plot.
And, for that reason I enjoyed this novel and will read the other Berrybender novels.
Miami Bob
A little bit of history with bizarre antics, conversation, and characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on August 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book picks up right where "Sin Killer" left off. Literally. I read these books consecutively and they could easily had been packaged as one six hundred pager.
This is not "Lonesome Dove" in several ways. Where any of the four Lonesome Dove books could be read as a stand-alone, I don't think The "Wandering Hill" would make any sense to someone who had not first read Sin Killer. McMurtry is also writing this series as a sort of Black Comedy. The characters are less well developed, the plot just conveniently happens and there is scant background or development. Just action and happenings.
As for the Black Comedy, think of an R-rated version of the old TV show "The Adams Family." Quirky characters abound, led by a loony father, unreal supporting characters and a strong female who by far possesses the most intense drive and assertiveness of any of the lot.
In this book, the Berrybenders and hangers-on -- reduced by Indian attacks, self-inflicted wounds, attempted familycide and the elements -- winter on the Yellowstone River before heading South toward Santa Fe.
Various Indians come into play and the fearsome "The Partezon" looms on the edge of the story, ready to strike havoc like Blue Duck or Mox Mox in McMurtry's other stories. Historical figures are also woven into the plot from Lewes and Clark's French guide Charbonneau to Kit Carson and other mountain men. The central part of the story remains the wily Tasmine, oldest of the Berrybender children and Jim Snow, aka "The Sin Killer" an American mountain man who alternates between remaining the wild loner of the range and Mr.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Murray on May 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Larry McMurtry's The Wandering Hill is the second installment of his proposed tetralogy following a wealthy English family and their trek to the west in the 1830's. Whereas the first novel, Sin Killer, started slow and revealed a zany, action-packed tone, Hill charges straight out of the gates but mellows eventually to attach the reader closer to the glorious characters. This tetralogy is essentially one giant novel that will equal Lonesome Dove in characters and story. The writing combines subtle humor, fast-paced action, and startling violence that brings the reader directly into the savage world. If you have read Sin Killer, pick up The Wandering Hill immediately. If you haven't read Sin Killer, pick up both books and lose yourself in the exciting yet tragic world McMurtry has created.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Ron Franscell, Author of 'The Darkest Night' on June 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
By his own reckoning, Larry McMurtry is past his literary prime. Nearly 12 years after a heart bypass surgery plunged him into an abyss of depression, and 17 years beyond his Pulitzer Prize-winning magnum opus, �Lonesome Dove,� McMurtry has not evaded that single harshest criticism of his fiction: His own. He knows he�s not in top form and he admits it.
In his autobiographical �Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen,� he revealed two things, one intentional, one not: He considers himself only a shadow of what he once was, the greatest western novelist of his generation. The second, unintentional revelation? His non-fiction of the past decade has far surpassed his fiction.
Comes now �The Wandering Hill,� sequel to �Sin Killer� and second in a four-part series about a the eccentric and dysfunctional Berrybender family and its motley coterie -- British nobles in search of adventure, big-game hunting and sex -- as they explore the virgin West of the 1830s.
For historical-fiction readers, and especially for fans of the Lewis and Clark era, McMurtry populates this book with supporting characters straight out of Western legend: real-life mountain men Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Tom Fitzpatrick and Hugh Glass, Scottish adventurer William Drummond Stewart, frontier artists George Catlin and Karl Bodmer, trader William Ashley, and Pomp Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea.
Partly because �The Wandering Hill� ends, in effect, only halfway through the saga, its denouement is underwhelming. The Berrybender adventures are plucked from various unrelated historical accounts. Considered separately, they illustrate the moments of terror the frontier likely held, but the trip often seems as aimless as the Berrybenders� journey through unexplored territory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hendry VINE VOICE on July 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Larry McMurtry's The Wandering Hill is quite an enjoyable tale, not quite as good as Sin Killer, but still excellent. I wouldn't however recommend Wandering Hill to anyone who didn't enjoy Sin Killer, nor would I recommend it to anyone who only wants to read another Lonesome Dove. The Berrybender Narratives are a group of novels unto themselves, not really like anything else McMurtry has ever done. McMurtry's excellent writing is still there and the novel will certainly make you chuckle. Sin Killer had a more thematically pulled together feel, while The Wandering Hill does wander, as it were, a bit more. We meet up with the Berrybenders and there varied entourage at a trading post in the American west in the 1830s. Tasmin and her husband Jim, have a bit of a spat and he takes off into the wilderness, leaving a pregnant Tasmin to fend for herself. Lord Berrybender is still his same eccentric self and the rest of the characters are equally as nutty. Some bits of the writing isn't quite as strong as it should be, but all in all, this is still a strong novel and worth reading if it is what you are looking for.
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