Enter your mobile number 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
All the Little Live Things (Contemporary American Fiction) Paperback – December 1, 1991
|New from||Used from|
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"A novel of crackling vividness"
The New York Times Book Review
"The Great Gastby captures the twenties and yet transcends them. All the Little Live Things is a comparable achievement for the sixties. . . . Stegner's craft is here at an apex."
Virginia Quarterly Review
Top Customer Reviews
It is the story of a 64 year-old man, Joe Allston, who moves to a five acre ranch in what is apparently an area south of San Jose, California. He is retired, and he moves there with his wife to escape everyday life, and enjoy his remaining days in peace. It is 1967. But two events occur which shake him out of his quietude. The first is the sudden and unexpected appearance of Peck, a 24 year-old hippie, who asks them if he can camp out on their property. Reluctantly, and out of a sense of repressed guilt over the death of his own 38 year-old son three years earlier, Joe agrees. The second event is the appearance of a new neighbor, Marian, a 30ish woman, with her husband and child. Joe is smitten by her beauty and charm and immediately--in a purely platonic way--falls in love with her.
They have a lengthy discussion on the first day he meets her. He wants to know what she is planning to do with the property, which has gone untended for many years, and she tells him that she's going to do--nothing. She loves nature the way it is, she says, and relishes the wild, untamed, natural beauty of it. He tells her about poison oak, stink weeds, snakes and other vermin, and says to her that it is not possible to not want to change nature. He tells her about the flea-ridden gopher he had killed that morning on his property.Read more ›
Outwardly a curmudgeon of the first order, he is introspective and ruthlessly honest with himself...and with everyone else. Stegner once said about his writing, "In fiction I think we should have no agenda but to tell the truth." Joe Allston personifies this maxim. He seeks his own truth - the reality behind his feelings and actions. He is aware of his flaws, his resistance to change, his near obsession with the Protestant work ethic and resentment towards those seeking to escape it through alternative lifestyles. He also agonizes over the death of his son and their terribly flawed relationship.
This is a story of relationships, of love, alienation, anger and death and their role in Allston's life and in the human condition. Set in the late 1960s, a time of political unrest, general dissent and back to nature "hippie lifestyles," Joe is bewildered and angered by society's changing mores. He and his wife Ruth have a ranch in the California hills. When a manipulative young man on a motorcycle asks to camp on his land, Joe begrudgingly gives his consent. Another newcomer to Allston's life is the lovely young mother, Marion Catlin, who moves to a nearby house with her husband and child. A hauntingly poignant love story lies at the heart of this novel - the relationship between Joe and this young, pregnant mother.Read more ›
The story is set in the late 1960's, around the retiring life of Joseph and Ruth Allston. Joe tells the story in first person, over a period of about one year. It opens with a dreary October day as Joe and his wife, Ruth, return home after a somber event. The rest of the book traces what led up to that event, and the overwhelming affect a young woman had on Joe's life.
The woman, Marian Catlin, is Joe's opposite. Joe is a highly responsible, controlling kind of man, with traditional values, who has recently retired and moved to the hills of Northern California to build his perfect life and to escape from the painful memory of the death of his 37-year-old son. Marian, the same age as his son, is his new neighbor and welcomes life openly, with all of its vitality. Joe loves Marian as his own daughter, and he reluctantly learns to accept life much more openly, and with a far deeper degree of sorrow than he has ever known.
There is another interesting character who plays a key antagonist role, a dysfunctional hippie named Peck. Peck has all the irresponsible qualities of Joe's deceased son, and he hates him for it. The interplay of emotions created in Joe by the rebellious, irresponsible Peck with the openness and acceptance of life by Marian results in a gripping tension that builds flawlessly throughout the book, to the powerful end.
There are some dramatic scenes in the story, but the real drama is what you will feel tugging within your own heart. This is an exceptional book, one of a few to remember over a lifetime...and you will.
As a writer, myself, I could not recommend this book more highly. Wallace Stegner, the accomplished, deceased author, gave us a treasure of a book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wallace Stegner is one of my favorite authors, and this book just solidified that. It's beautifully written, the story is mesmerizing, for me. Read morePublished 4 months ago by S. Corbett
Beauty and harsh reality at once. Great read. I don't have in mind the twelve more worlds or more required.Published 7 months ago by Dallin
Although written before The Spectator Bird, I think the events in this novel take place after that one. Read morePublished 9 months ago by HT
Another wonderful Stenger novels. Brilliant writer, a joy to read.Published 10 months ago by eleanor torguson
Third novel I have read by Stegner. This was a quick read, chosen by my book group.i thought it was a good discussion book- if I had read it as a young person in the 60s I may have... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Pam Rodgers
Love Stegner and am reading as many of his that I can get. He speaks to the reflective time of our lives with gentle, often poignant, clarity.Published 15 months ago by R. Taylor
Just finished this novel last night. Wow! An all-encompassing emotional ride from beginning to end, this story pulls you into the small, intimate world of a few key characters. Read morePublished 15 months ago by L. V. Sage
Like most of the author's works, this is highly readable literary novel that provides deep insights to the human condition. It's powerful and memorable.Published 16 months ago by James Talbot