“Ron Carlson knows there’s a hole in the middle of our lives, . . .

"Ron Carlson is doing something unique."

"Ron Carlson is doing something unique."

…a chasm we can hardly imagine looking into.  So when he sends three men out west to see what they can do about it, the reader must pay close attention.”

~ Antonya Nelson


I’m only about halfway through Ron Carlson’s novel Five Skies, but it is one of those books I already hate to finish – wondering if the next novel I pick up will be half as good.

“…Ron Carlson’s first novel in thirty years is the tale of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer.

“…As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant and deeply profound ways.  One man will triumph over his dark nature, another will fall beneath the weight of his own.  And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson’s novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force.”

Mark Spragg, author of An Unfinished Life writes “In Five Skies, Ron Carlson has fashioned such a moving and elemental meditation on every man’s struggle toward family, toward the embrace of his individual soul, that, by its end, I found my appreciation for both grief and redemption to be profoundly altered.  Here is a fine and gracefully rendered novel.”

[An aside:  Mark Spragg’s novel Where Rivers Change Direction is an excellent read.]

I highly recommend this novel . . . and this author.


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on August 17, 2009, in Books and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hope-I liked Five Skies, but I LOVED The Signal. I also loved An Unfinished Life, but have not read his other one. Books, books, books–so little time.

    • I really can’t say that I liked one novel better than the other; there were special ‘scenes’ in each book that really spoke to me.

      I found myself falling in love with Arthur Key (Five Skies) the scenes with Vonnie and Mack in the Signal were mesmerizing (and oh so bittersweet).

      Carlson makes each character someone who is absolutely and totally real – and human. I feel as though I have met them and heard them speak.

      Carlson’s dialogue. Descriptions.

      Each time I finish one of his books, I take a breath – feeling as though my heart would break . . . but didn’t.

      How does he do what he does?

      [can you tell I admire his writing??!!]

  2. I’ve not read DID READ an Unfinished Life (memory is a funny thing!). How right you are: so many books and we must do other necessary and unnecessary things – but I prefer to just hole up in a cozy nook and read read read. Not to be.

    [Although I’m sure I would now and again miss social contact and thus would venture out of the Cozy Nook).

    I read some of your stories on “Contrary” (so very good!) and look forward to reading more. I’m keeping my eye out . . .

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