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This Tender Land: A Novel Hardcover – September 3, 2019
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From the Publisher
“If you liked Where the Crawdads Sing, you’ll love This Tender Land by best-selling author William Kent Krueger. This story is as big-hearted as they come.“ —Parade Magazine
“A picaresque tale of adventure during the Great Depression. Part Grapes of Wrath, part Huckleberry Finn, Krueger’s novel is a journey over inner and outer terrain toward wisdom and freedom.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Crafted in exquisitely beautiful prose, this is a story to be treasured – outstanding and unforgettable.” —Historical Novel Review
"If you’re among the millions who raced through Where the Crawdads Sing this year and are looking for another expansive, atmospheric American saga, look to the latest from Krueger." —Entertainment Weekly
"Long, sprawling, and utterly captivating, readers will eat up every delicious word of it.” —New York Journal of Books
"Absorbing and wonderfully-paced, this fictional narrative set against historical truths mesmerizes the reader with its evocations of compassion, courage, and self-discovery. . . THIS TENDER LAND is a gripping, poignant tale swathed in both mythical and mystical overtones." —Bob Drury, New York Times bestselling author of The Heart of Everything That Is
"More than a simple journey; it is a deeply satisfying odyssey, a quest in search of self and home. Richly imagined and exceptionally well plotted and written, the novel is, most of all, a compelling, often haunting story that will captivate both adult and young adult readers." —Booklist
"Rich with graceful writing and endearing characters...this is a book for the ages." —Denver Post
Praise for Ordinary Grace, winner of the 2014 Edgar Award for Best Novel
"Pitch-perfect...I loved this book.” —Dennis Lehane, New York Times bestselling author of Live by Night and The Given Day
“Krueger’s elegy for innocence is a deeply memorable tale.” —Washington Post
“Krueger aims higher and hits harder with a standalone novel that shares much with his other work....A novel that transforms narrator and reader alike.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Once in a blue moon a book drops down on your desk that demands to be read. You pick it up and read the first page, and then the second, and you are hooked. Such a book is Ordinary Grace…This is a book that makes the reader feel better just by having been exposed to the delights of the story. It will stay with you for quite some time and you will always remember it with a smile.” —Huffington Post
“The tone is much like To Kill a Mockingbird, with its combination of dread and nostalgia.”—Detroit News
About the Author
- Publisher : Atria Books (September 3, 2019)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476749299
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476749297
- Item Weight : 1.37 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #23,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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'This Tender Land' takes place during the Great Depression. Four boys at Lincoln School, a school where Native American children are forcibly sent to be educated, run away. Giving away the reasons would spoil the story as would mentioning the resolution to the mystery of how two Irish boys ended up at this particular school.
Some will question how four children, especially the four year old, could so successfully fend for themselves. Those questioners undoubtedly are comparing today's youth to those in 1932. There is no comparison. Children back then were resilient and toughened to hard work and adept at surviving. They encountered adults along the way who provided some assistance as well. Plus having no choice but to fend for themselves or get arrested provided plenty of incentive to survive on their own.
The author took the same journey down the Mississippi River that he sends the children on in their canoe which would explain why their journey feels authentic. The people they meet and adventures they have is a great story. Some of those encountered on their journey to finding a 'home and family' are an adult Native American hobo type, a faith healer and her entourage and a family in one of the Hoovervilles that sprang up all over the country due to people losing farms and jobs. All along the way they know the law is looking for them as the headmistress at Lincoln School very much wanted the four year old child for reasons that would be a spoiler. She wanted rid of the other three children after she retrieves incriminating records they took from the school when running away.
This book should became a modern day classic. The desire for a home with a family and questioning God and faith woven into this great story provides depth. While I read the review copy and there may be changes to the final copy, this statement is meaningful whether it remains or not. In reference to nightmares by the younger brother (the adult storyteller of this story) it is noted: "Everything that's been done to us we carry forever. Most of us do our damnedest to hold on to the good and forget the rest. . . ." (Page 126, review copy.) There are a couple more sentences to this very true statement as we are all a sum total of our life experiences whether we admit to it or aware of it or not.
Readers of classic literature and of just plain ole good stories will not regret pre-ordering this book. As I mentioned I was unfamiliar with Mr. Krueger but immediately on finishing this book, I ordered "Ordinary Grace" and will order other books by him as I read along. A sad regret of my own life is that there are more good authors writing far more good books than I'll ever be able to read! I simply loved this book. Highly recommended.
This novel really has everything one could wish for: vivid characterizations, historical verisimilitude, an intricate and fast-moving plot, and honest confrontation with the reality of good and evil as it is played out in the lives of ordinary people challenged by the ordeals of the Great Depression. Although some might question the authenticity of the maturity levels attributed to the two youngest children, “almost” 13-year-old narrator Odie and 4-year-old Emmy, it doesn’t come across as in any sense contrived. These are children already aware that while fantasy can lighten challenging circumstances, there is a base line of grim reality which must be negotiated.
This story also has a unifying thread of spirituality, love and hope which – while never intrusive or preachy – powerfully enriches the narrative. The two vignettes of the children’s encounters with Sister Eve and her healing ministry as well as with the Schofield family in the shanty town of “Hopersville” give deep insight into the ways in which community and compassion provide the impetus for survival even in the darkest times. In addition, though the book lays out the infamous history of the betrayal of the Indian people (specifically the Sioux, given the upper-Midwestern setting of the story) by the Government and greedy, abusive whites, it allows forgiveness and redemption to play a significant role. Author Krueger has accomplished a marvel of a work which simultaneously challenges, convicts, and uplifts.
had specified, as Patterson does, what is for children and what can be read by adults, so that no mistake will be made.
The four runaways are very interesting and well drawn characters as are the people they meet in their travels. This is a wonderful adventure story despite the backdrop of the Great Depression and the horrific abuse the inmates, er wards suffer at the Lincoln School. Sadly, the runaways face some adversities in their travels, but nothing to the level of what they knew at the Lincoln School. (A good companion book to this one is Jodi Picoult's "Second Glance” which addresses Native American exploitation and legally sanctioned enforced sterilization and incarceration.)
A Depression era Huckleberry Finn retelling, of sorts, but a wonderful story that will keep readers riveted and afloat to the very last page.
Top reviews from other countries
It started well, taking you straight into the action. Then the kids go off on their adventures and meet a solid range of goodies and baddies, some credible, some you have to take with a large pinch of salt. The author gives the impression that he wants to get certain messages across e.g. the treatment of the American indians, and to be fair I thought he handled that well as he informed the reader of their horrendous treatment in the context of the story he was telling. It was about halfway through that things started to go a bit 'hocus pocus' and - if I'm honest, a bit 'preachy'. I stuck with it hoping things would get better but it just trundled on. Then I got to the last few chapters, there were numerous coincidences, and quite frankly it just seemed as if the author wanted to tidy everything up and tie up all the strands into a neat bow no matter how ludicrous the explanations.
I personally think I'm a great candidate for suspending disbelief when reading as I really will try and 'go with the flow.' However, I suspended my 'suspension of disbelief' as this story just got so silly. This novel comes across to me as a being an over indulgent project by an over confident author. I didn't stop reading it but I did not particularly look forward to picking up this novel in the evening to get the next bit of the yarn. If I'm honest my greatest pleasure was when I finished it.