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Yellow Mesquite [Kindle Edition]

John J Asher
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 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: #319,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
(65)
4.2 out of 5 stars
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Rider
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I wish I had Asher's intrinsic genius for words. If I did, I'd use text like a brush properly paint an homage to this masterpiece. How I had not come across his work sooner is a mystery to me. I don't know how to begin to critique "Yellow Mesquite", which I just reluctantly finished. As a retired teacher, I might first say that had I found this novel while I was still in the classroom it would have replaced anything I had used as the required "coming of age" novel. Yellow Mesquite transcends literary or developmental milestones, as timeless as classic art itself. And just as art is enjoyed and interpreted independently, so this novel will be many things to many people. For anyone who loves art, has struggled with the creative process, or has artistic impulses and yearnings thwarted by the practical realities of daily life, insecurity, or ambivalence, this read will embrace you like a trusted confidant. For anyone who has been chiseled or eroded by the harsh forces of interpersonal conflict, love, betrayal, or loss, and experienced the shades of psychological vulnerability these traumas invite, again, you will find this novel to be both cathartic and therapeutic. If you're looking simply to suspend disbelief and fall completely into a hypnotic novel that is rich in nuanced three dimensional characters, palpable emotional power, imagery and interpretations that only a true poet-artist could conjure, and a plot as unpredictable as life itself, this author will take you on an unforgettable experiential gallery tour which you will not want to end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite
Because I know very little about artists and their work, this book was not one of my favorites. I thought it was beautifully written, but I had no problem putting it aside to... Read more
Published 6 days ago by mary b
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed the book
I enjoyed the book, but kind of felt cheated at the end. It was almost as if the author got tired of writing it and through an ending together.
Published 10 days ago by Marilyn Phelps
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
This was not at all like I had thought it would be.The twists went in a very opposite direction.
Published 15 days ago by Mayme Lajoie
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a great read
Published 15 days ago by marian harding
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting read about life in the south 50 years ago.
Published 18 days ago by Joan Franklin
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Not my kind of book. Too slow.
Published 19 days ago by Elizabeth Hutchison
3.0 out of 5 stars Like "A Painted House"
I was fully prepared not to like this as it's not my kind of tale. The writing was good however, and I stayed with it to the finish. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Scrib
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very good book
Published 22 days ago by tina spicer
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique
Coming of age tale in late 1940's to 1960's, from hardcrabble West Texas to sophisticated NYC lifestyle. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Laurel Shand
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not Bad
Published 24 days ago by Geneva Brantner
Search Customer Reviews

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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