Download All the Little Live Things (Contemporary American Fiction) by Wallace Stegner PDF

By Wallace Stegner

Joe Allston, the retired literary agent of Stegner's nationwide booklet Award-winning novel, The Spectator fowl, returns during this disquieting and keenly saw novel. Scarred by way of the mindless loss of life in their son and baffled by way of the engulfing chaos of the Nineteen Sixties, Allston and his spouse, Ruth, have left the coast for a California retreat. And even supposing their new domestic feels like Eden, it additionally has serpents: Jim Peck, a messianic exponent of gear, yoga, and intercourse; and Marian Catlin, an enticing younger girl whose otherworldly innocence is way extra appealing—and way more risky.

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Example text

It smelled leathery and cured—the oak leaves, maybe. On the bank the pyracantha was ripening heavy clusters, and the toyon along the hill was top-heavy with berries. I stood by the carport looking down across the gone-by vegetable garden and the baby orchard, and of course what stood up in my view as if it were a hundred feet high was that cherry tree. My hands began to shake and my eyes got moist—outrage, outrage. To take all that trouble of digging, fertilizing, planting, spraying, pruning, coddling, only to have a blind vermin come burrowing brainlessly underground to destroy everything!

We followed the path made by Julie LoPresti’s black gelding, a path so uniformly double-grooved that it might have been made with skis. This ran into a trampled space under an oak where he used to sleep on his feet and switch flies, and then out again along the fence separating the pasture from Weld’s apricot orchard. Somewhere along there we always stopped to admire the view, with our backs to the orchard and our faces toward the pasture and woodland rolling steeply down and then more steeply up, ravine and ridge, to the dark forested mountainside and the crest.

This morning when I looked out into rain-washed sunshine, Catarrh had prepared a beauty: a gray nose, bristling on both sides with long whiskers, gleaming with four long teeth. Below and to the left, an intact paunch like a purple plum, enclosed within a coil of iridescent intestines. And along the top and down the right side, tying grin and guts together with a sweeping S curve that was pure dynamic symmetry, the nine-inch tail of a wood rat. Undoubtedly it was Catarrh’s best to date—Neotoma fuscipes was his masterpiece.

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