Friday, February 27, 2009

Coming Up on Monday: William Kittredge at UCI

Make your plans for Monday now.

Join members of the UC Irvine community in welcoming William Kittredge to The UCI Bookstore. He will be reading and signing from his novel, The Willow Field and his essay collection, The Next Rodeo.

Monday March 2, 2009 5 PM

from The Washington Post:
The Willow Field (Vintage, $14.95), the first novel by essayist, short story writer and memoirist William Kittredge, is a Western epic that "describes a way of life that hung on for decades after the rest of the country slipped into the effete and poisonous modern age," Ron Charles wrote. Its centerpiece, a journey through the Rockies, is "a showcase for the startling beauty of Kittredge's prose and his knowledge of the West."
Publishers Weekly on The Last Rodeo:
The American West writing of author Kittredge, who grew up on a cattle ranch in Oregon and has lived and worked for three decades in Montana, is known for its honesty and reverence. In this collection of essays, many of which appeared in 2002's Owning It All, Kittredge examines the region's character and contradictions. Describing his personal history with the land, Kittredge considers the area's draw for himself and those who arrived before him, 19th century travelers lured by promises of "free land, crystalline water, great herds of game... and gold, all in unfettered abundance." A former creative writing professor, Kittredge has a knack for the poetic, and isn't above putting a mythical sheen on an otherwise skillful and sincere assessment of the alternately challenging and comforting place he calls home. In pieces such as "How to Love This World," "Lost Cowboys" and "The Next Rodeo," for example, he speaks of the joys of wandering slow and easy; elsewhere, he worries over a present in which the "devastation of the interwoven system of life" is already under way. The reclamation of hope, responsibility and wisdom-the ongoing process of "redefining what we take to be sacred"-is the driving force behind these effective, at times profound reflections.

Bookstore manager Matt Astrella and his staff always put on terrific events and this one should be quite special. Light refreshments provided and it's all free - except, of course, for the parking.


1 comment:

Lou said...

Here's Kittredge for you on the western as emblematic of American culture:

“The Western is a story in which we get to have our cake and eat it. Shane does the killing, then rides into the mythical Tetons, carrying all our guilt away with him. Our problems have been solved quickly, and we are off the hook, guilt free, ready to go on, no blood on our hands.

“The Western is a story as ancient as warfare, about solving problems with violence, the great simple solution …

“It would be pretty to think the American version of this ancient showdown shoot-’em-up story of aggression enshrined has vanished. But it hasn’t.

“The Western mutated and went to the edge of the continent and downtown with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and the cops and detectives (think of Chinatown as the last Western movie). Lately the Western has gone into virtual worlds and outer space, where the same old story is being endlessly reenacted by killer androids.”

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