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Yellow Mesquite [Kindle Edition]

John J Asher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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  • Length: 474 pages
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Book Description

Harley Buchanan wants out—out of his hardscrabble existence in West Texas, out of the dead-end farming life of his family, and out of the heartbreaking discovery of his high school sweetheart, Darlene, with another boy. Determined to fulfill his dreams as an artist, he hitches out of Separation, Texas, headed for art school and the culture of 1960s New York City.

But when the woman with whom he seeks solace from the pain of Darlene’s betrayal winds up pregnant, Harley’s plans—along with his dreams—get derailed.

Determined to forge his path, Harley finally makes it to New York, where the art world opens up to him amid his blossoming relationship with Frankie, the first true equal and partner of his life. But Harley can’t leave his past behind as easily as he left Texas. A shocking discovery ignites a bloodlust that makes him risk everything he’s achieved, and propels him on an adrenaline-driven mission of revenge back to Texas, and the seedy underbelly of Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, where he finally confronts the obsession that has crippled his entire life.

Product Details

  • File Size: 816 KB
  • Print Length: 474 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Brazos River Press, Austin, TX 78758 (June 26, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,713 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Art? July 30, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
“Yellow Mesquite” is a novel about a talented artist from West Texas written by a talented artist from West Texas. The author, John Asher, can and does create unforgettable pictures of people and places in both paint and words. The time is the early 1960s when Art was making the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Pop to the Next Big Thing. The places Asher takes us to, both visually and emotionally, range from the dirt-poor farms and dying towns of West Texas, to Dallas, to Lower Manhattan, to Uptown, and back again. It is obvious John Asher has been there by the way he nails the details. In all of these places, the young protagonist painter is a square peg in a round hole desperate to maintain his artistic and personal integrity. The people he becomes involved with range from trailer-trash, to poor farmers, to oilfield millionaires, to eccentric artists, to art-scene sophisticates. They lie, cheat, steal, love, and hate. They betray and they support. They are petty and generous. One thing they are not, is forgettable.
An excellent non-fiction book to read after you finish “Yellow Mesquite” is “What Art Is” by Arthur C. Danto, an issue which Asher’s protagonist is forced to deal with from start to finish. Pop Art, contemporary to the novel’s time frame, plays a big role in Danto’s very readable analysis.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where art and scorned lovers collide July 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wonder about books like this. How they are written. How the words are formed. Like the paintings Harley creates in this book, and describes, this book takes time to process, and often times all the shades of meaning aren't clear until later, when you're looking at a tree or an old pickup truck, or watching kids splash around in a lake. Then a piece of this book you didn't realize stayed with you comes forward, and you realize Asher wasn't talking about Harley's life or art, but about you, and the things you were taking in every day without realizing it.

But Yellow Mesquite doesn't read like a literary tome. It's a rollicking coming of age tale with scorned lovers, car races, double crossing, and death. But really, it's about art, and how an artist is born and raised from the heat-shimmering lands of Texas, and how he makes his way to New York to prove himself. And ultimately, that one great love is all the difference between creation without meaning, and the ultimate magnum opus.

A highlight recommended read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking Descriptions Transport Reader July 21, 2014
By amber
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good fiction is the best way for me to learn history - so Yellow Mesquite was a great read for me. I love being transported to times before I was born and places I've never really understood. This book covers the west Texas dustbowl and oil fields and New York City in the 60s, with great characters and entertaining mishaps, adventures, and triumphs. I love reading a story from a visual artist's point of view--Harley, the protagonist is a painter--and the prose itself is so masterfully descriptive, some phrases I even tagged on my Kindle to go back to later because they are really just perfect.
Wonderful read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RARE BOOK TO SAVOR LIKE A GOOD WINE July 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the third book I've read from this talented author, and probably my favorite so far. In YELLOW MESQUITE, Harley Buchanan is determined to fulfill his dreams of becoming an artist by escaping the poverty-stricken Separation, Texas for art school in New York City after discovering his high school sweetheart with his best friend.

But problems ensue after he makes it to New York where the art world has opened its doors to him and he's found the love of his life. He's forced to return to Texas and Cuidad Acuna, Mexico where he must deal with a mission of revenge.

Asher paints a realistic portrayal of life in the fifties in a small town in West Texas as well as the glittering opportunities of a young artist in New York City in the 1960's. His characters are complex and believable, and the pacing of the plot keeps you reading late into the night. His excellent use of language is almost poetic. I highly recommend this book to those of you who enjoy good literary fiction and a book you will savor for many years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Review of Yellow Mesquite

Yellow Mesquite can be read as a bildungsroman in which novelist John Asher Jones narrates he quest of Harley Jay Buchanan to become an artist and a grown-up man: Buchanan’s childhood and adolescence in the stark, inhospitable west Texas, small town of Separation, his sudden turn into adulthood when his girlfriend Sherylynne’s unplanned pregnancy makes him postpone his long cherished dream to study art in New York, and his struggle to survive as an artist when he finally goes to NY. Each one of these steps exacts a painful price from Harley: personal losses, ideals that are shattered, feelings that must be tamed, deceptions that must be healed. When beauty and light are added to transform all of those injuries, as in Yellow Mesquite, art and literature result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Asher writes like a more accessible Cormac McCarthy July 21, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
John J. Asher writes like a more accessible Cormac McCarthy. From his evocative often visceral and entirely poetic depictions of a drouth stricken 1950s West Texas to his central character's existential struggles, this novel reads more like life than fiction. More like one of Ernest Hemingway's thinly disguised autobiographical novels than a pure work of fiction. Of Mr. Asher's several literary works, this ranks as the best. Thus far. In every life there is a dream against which the forces of life itself wage war. It is that dream Yellow Mesquite brings to life. But be warned: like unrequited love, it will haunt.
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More About the Author

Asher grew up in rural West Texas. Attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Taught at the Famous Artists Schools in Westport, CT. Was a staff illustrator at Weekly Reader until he quit to freelance. He designed and built a two-story 2300 sq. ft. house, doing all the work himself. In 1994, Asher moved back to his homeland in Austin, Texas. He has done some acting, both movies and commercials, but spends most of his time tinkering with words.

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