Saturday, November 28, 2020

My Favorite Book, Part 24


There’s a common belief about Western novels, practically a law, that the hero always saves the day and good always triumphs over evil. And, truth be told, that’s the formula behind most, almost all, Western novels.
    But there are books that defy the doctrine and go a different way, presenting a more nuanced—you could say more realistic—way of seeing things. Some of them become classics.
    One such is The Ox-Bow Incident by the late Nevada writer Walter Van Tilburg Clark. There is no hero in its pages, the day is not saved, and there is no triumph of good over evil—just the opposite, in fact. And yet upon publication in 1940 the novel achieved eminence, and has maintained its place among the best Western novels of all time, widely considered a masterpiece.
    It just goes to show, I suppose, that while there is safety for Western writers and Western novels in following the herd, there is more than one trail that leads to success.
    And, to my way of thinking, to better books.



  1. Excellent post, Rod. I am embarrassed to admit I have never read it, but I will now! That is the power of persuasion and good writing. Thanks, Pard.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Bob. The book will give you plenty to think about.