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Yellow Mesquite [Kindle Edition]

John J Asher
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
You Save: $13.96 (78%)
 
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Book Description

Harley Buchanan wants out—out of his hardscrabble existence in West Texas, out of the heartbreaking discovery of his high school sweetheart with another boy. He hitches out of Separation, Texas, determined to forge his way in the art world of the
1960s. But he can’t leave his past as easily as he left Texas. A startling discovery ignites a bloodlust that propels him on an adrenaline-driven mission of revenge back to Texas, where he finally confronts the obsession that has crippled his entire life.

“[…] The places Asher takes us, both visually and emotionally, range from the dirt-poor farms of West Texas, to Dallas, to Lower Manhattan, to Uptown, and back again. The people he becomes involved with range from trailer-trash, 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.”
—J. T. Conroe: Blue Hotel, The Tower Maker.

“Easily my favorite of Asher's novels. This coming-of-age story has all the author's trademark ingredients—rich, visual descriptions and three-dimensional, nuanced characters…”
—Phoebe Fox: The Breakup Doctor, Bedside Manners.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1107 KB
  • Print Length: 456 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Brazos River Press, Austin, TX 78758 (June 26, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LCE6ULQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,402 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking Descriptions Transport Reader July 21, 2014
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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9 of 10 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one to start with March 24, 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Okay, I'm going to say some things, but the main thing is, get this book. You won't regret it.

Life intervened for me about halfway through this book, and when I came back to it a few weeks later, I was shocked to discover it was written in third person because I remembered it as so intimate that I was expecting first person.

I enjoyed the tension of the first half of the book, but when we got to NYC it just took off.

I've read a couple of other books by this author and liked them, but you should start here and persevere. Just saying.

Or else.
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8 of 10 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An artist's view
One of the reasons I read fiction is that it provides a way to look into the mind and viewpoints of other people. This book does this amazingly well. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Melanie D. Typaldos
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard lessons learned
I can certainly relate to several things in this book... living in west Texas, being jacked around by a high school sweetheart, being shut down by parents of a girl that I really... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Ex Texan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Terrific story teller. A completely satisfactory reading experience. Loved it. The last part of the book was a real surprise...not the story but the way it unfolded. Great passion.
Published 3 days ago by Louis Sands
2.0 out of 5 stars Low class teen ge characters and language
I didn't finish it. It in not my kind of story.
Published 4 days ago by A. D. Foreman
5.0 out of 5 stars A Complex,rich story
This is the story of a man that starts with his childhood and moves to his teens and young adulthood. The story circles around the females he loves and the urge to create art. Read more
Published 4 days ago by K E Williams
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The story was good and I enjoyed the references to Texas.
Published 4 days ago by KarenB
4.0 out of 5 stars Readable
I liked it. Just not knowing. It'll make me want to read more if I knew there was a sequel.
Published 5 days ago by Copperhead
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
I enjoyed this book and liked the author's style of writing. It needs some editing but I couldn't take off half a star so left all five for a great story.
Published 6 days ago by Yld1
3.0 out of 5 stars Do some research
Good read until a reference to Jerry Lee Louis? Please, it's Lewis! Then soon after a reference to Ernest Tubbs? Please, it's Tubb, no s.
Published 6 days ago by Carl Lilly
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written in so far as the lifestyle in ...
Very well written in so far as the lifestyle in West Texas as a teen . The struggle of budding artist in Texas and later in New York City is described in detail. Read more
Published 7 days ago by john McNelia
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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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