Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Five Skies Hardcover – May 17, 2007
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Two stoics and a teenage misanthrope are brought together in Idaho's Rocky Mountains to build a ramp to nowhere in Carlson's first novel in 25 years, a tour de force of grief, atonement and the cost of loyalty. Darwin Gallegos, spiritually bereft after the sudden death of his wife, is hired for one last job at Rio Difficulto, the sprawling ranch where he had lived and worked for years. The job: construct a motorcycle ramp that will launch a daredevil across a gorge (the event is to be taped and bring in a pile of money). Darwin hires for the job drifters Arthur Key, a large and quiet man hiding from his recent past, and Ronnie Panelli, a wiry teenager on the lam from minor criminal mischief. As the men work from late spring through summer, their wounds come slowly to light: the seething fury that took root in Darwin after his wife died; Arthur's career as the go-to Hollywood stunt engineer that he abandoned after betraying his guileless brother; and Ronnie's short lifetime of failure, atoned for as he learns the carpentry trade. Carlson writes with uncommon precision, and this return to long-form fiction after four well-received story collections is stunning. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From The New Yorker
A notable exponent of that difficult literary technique the happy ending, Carlson, who has been writing short stories for decades, brings a gentle sense of decency to his third novel, a tale of the mountain West. High in the desert plains of southern Idaho, three men gather for a summer of hard work: an aging rancher, whose wife was killed in a freak accident; a nineteen-year-old fleeing both family and law; and an engineer whose career is built on precision but whose brother died in a poorly planned stunt. Time and talk, so often friends to Carlsons characters, slowly heal the wounds, but the mens commission, a ramp for a Knievel-style canyon jump, makes hazardous any hope for moral uplift and serves, in the end, as the stage for tragedy. But Carlson may be a short-story writer at heart; like his picaresque early novels, this one lacks the assured line of a natural novelist. Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Darwin Gallegos is the foreman for the job. He serendipitously hires Ronnie Panelli and Arthur Key off the street in Pocatello, Idaho and finds out that Arthur is a great engineer with a history of building sets in Hollywood for major film companies. Ronnie is a kid, about 20 years old, with a history of thievery, who is trying to become a man. Darwin is reeling from the recent death of his wife. Arthur is running from his brother's death for which he feels responsible. He also had been having an affair with his brother's wife when his brother died.
These three men gradually learn one another's histories as they spend the summer together and work long days and spend evenings by the campfire. The talk is mens' talk, about things male and often foreign to women. Carlson is a good writer but it was hard to relate to the book's content. I intend to try his short stories for which he is well-known but I think I will pass up his other novels.
I live in the general vicinity of where this story takes place and this is the best description of this region I have read.
Placing his three characters for a summer on a work site in southern Idaho, 20 miles from the nearest settlement, Carlson adds the healing effects of a vast, isolated environment under a big sky. The only thing that compromises the men is the dubious nature of the work itself - their time, energies and intelligence (though well paid for) serve the wasteful and ephemeral appetites of popular culture and its willing promoters. The river gorge that runs near their campsite eventually exacts a kind of toll for the hubris that drives the entire enterprise.
I haven't read a book so well written and so gripping in its portrayal of men since James Salter's "Solo Faces," which pursues similar themes in a world of physical extremes (alpine mountain climbing). And almost never does one read of the simple process of an older man taking under his wing a lost and troubled younger man and with gentle humor and mentoring setting his life back on track. By the end of the novel, a line like "Don't feed the rabbits, Ronnie," carries with it volumes of emotional meaning that can shake a simple reader like me to the core. I'm still struggling with the ending of the novel and not sure about those six stars anymore, but Ron Carlson has won me as a fan, hands down. My hope is that he is found by the many readers he deserves and who deserve him.