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The City Of Trembling Leaves (Western Literature Series) Paperback – December 1, 1991
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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"A superbly written book that compares favorably with Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel." -- Library Journal
"Here is a book that is American in all its implications. It is big, full of beauty and hope." -- Boston Globe
"The City of Trembling Leaves has something of the quality of a long and wonderful day out of doors..." -- Saturday Review
"There is no question that Mr. Clark is an exceptionally gifted writer. His characters are complex and comprehensible individuals. -- The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Born in 1909, Walter Van Tilburg Clark ranks as one of Nevada's most distinguished literary figures in the twentieth century, as well as a leading interpreter of the American West. With such highly acclaimed novels as The Ox-Bow Incident, The Track of the Cat, and The City of Trembling Leaves, Clark is known as a writer of national and international distinction. Walter Van Tilburg Clark died in Virginia City, Nevada, in 1971.
Top customer reviews
Modern-day readers will find themselves making a big adjustment to the pace of this long novel. Its central story could be told in 250 pages: a sensitive boy grows up in a modest family in Reno, Nevada, befriends a girl who lives near him and a boy and girl whose parents are wealthy and live across town, falls deeply in love with one of the girls while in high school, and begins a career as a composer and musician, eventually marrying and finding himself as an artist. But Clark has much more to tell, immersing the reader in richly detailed incidents that can expand into 20 and 30 pages - a horse race, a high school party, a tennis match, a climb up a mountain, a gathering of locals at a bar.
While the story takes place in the 1920s and 30s, there are only passing references to historical events and period detail. Much of the story is internal, psychological, emotional. And much of the story has to do with the timelessness of place and the cycle of seasons. There is a celebration of the city of Reno (as a hometown, not a destination for gambling and easy divorce), its trees, the surrounding mountains, and nearby Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Emotions and landscape are intricately interwoven. Clark's descriptions of places are infused with moods that shift and change like passing cloud shadows.
And finally, it's a story of the difficulties of becoming an artist, finding one's own voice and vision, developing one's talent, the personal costs and the struggle against discouragement and compromise, the social isolation and the impact on personal relationships. Part of Clark's achievement in this novel is the ability to take the reader with only words into the mind of a musician and composer. I recommend reading this book with an open map of Reno and western Nevada, and look online for pictures of Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Both will enrich the experience of this fine novel.
The author paints a colorful and accurate description of the "Biggest Little City in the World" when it actually fit that definition. Today, Reno is a rapidly expanding, land-gobbling monster of massive traffic jams, casinos, commercial strips, malls and ticky-tacky,cluttered housing developments much like Las Vegas (which is nothing more than another Los Angeles with slot machines).
I have lost my original copy, but am buying the new edition so that I can once again enjoy the life of a young, callow fellow and his friends growing up in a beautiful, small, friendly western town during simpler times.
If you have the chance, buy this book. You will read this again and again.