Little Century by Anna Keesey audiobook

Little Century

By Anna Keesey
Read by Tavia Gilbert

Blackstone Publishing 9780374192044
9.87 Hours Unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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A charged and eloquent novel about a young woman caught in the midst of the range wars in the American West at the turn of the century Orphaned after the death of her mother, eighteen-year-old Esther Chambers heads west in search of her only living relative. In the lawless frontier town of Century, Oregon, she’s met by a sunburnt, laconic cattle wrangler: her distant cousin, Ferris Pickett. Within days, Esther is perjuring herself at the county clerk’s office, swearing that she is twenty-one and ready for the rigors of homesteading. Pick leads her to a tiny cabin that shows daylight at the chinks, and Esther begins her new life on the small lake called Half-a-Mind. If she can hold out for five years, the land will join Pick’s already impressive spread. Land—there’s a lot of it wide-open in Century but, somehow, not enough. Esther has arrived in the middle of a range war; it’s cattle against sheep, and water’s at a premium. Small incidents of violence swiftly escalate; before long, blood spills on the dry ground, and the railroad starts to think twice about laying tracks through Century. No railroad means no town, something Pick and his men will go to any lengths to prevent. Meanwhile, Esther finds her sympathies divided between her cousin and a sheepherder named Ben Cruff, a sworn enemy of the cattle ranchers. As her passion for Ben and her land grows, she begins to see how at odds these things are with her cousin’s own interests. She can’t be loyal to both; at some point she’ll have to make a terrible choice. Little Century maps our country’s cutthroat legacy of dispossession and greed; it also celebrates the ecstatic visions of what America could become. Through Esther’s story, which veers between triumph and heartbreak, we see the American West as it was being forged. In the tradition of classics like My Ántonia and There Will Be Blood, Little Century is a resonant and moving debut novel by a gifted writer.

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Summary

Summary

Barnes & Noble Discover Award

A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”

A charged and eloquent novel about a young woman caught in the midst of the range wars in the American West at the turn of the century

Orphaned after the death of her mother, eighteen-year-old Esther Chambers heads west in search of her only living relative. In the lawless frontier town of Century, Oregon, she’s met by a sunburnt, laconic cattle wrangler: her distant cousin, Ferris Pickett. Within days, Esther is perjuring herself at the county clerk’s office, swearing that she is twenty-one and ready for the rigors of homesteading. Pick leads her to a tiny cabin that shows daylight at the chinks, and Esther begins her new life on the small lake called Half-a-Mind. If she can hold out for five years, the land will join Pick’s already impressive spread.

Land—there’s a lot of it wide-open in Century but, somehow, not enough. Esther has arrived in the middle of a range war; it’s cattle against sheep, and water’s at a premium. Small incidents of violence swiftly escalate; before long, blood spills on the dry ground, and the railroad starts to think twice about laying tracks through Century. No railroad means no town, something Pick and his men will go to any lengths to prevent. Meanwhile, Esther finds her sympathies divided between her cousin and a sheepherder named Ben Cruff, a sworn enemy of the cattle ranchers. As her passion for Ben and her land grows, she begins to see how at odds these things are with her cousin’s own interests. She can’t be loyal to both; at some point she’ll have to make a terrible choice.

Little Century maps our country’s cutthroat legacy of dispossession and greed; it also celebrates the ecstatic visions of what America could become. Through Esther’s story, which veers between triumph and heartbreak, we see the American West as it was being forged. In the tradition of classics like My Ántonia and There Will Be Blood, Little Century is a resonant and moving debut novel by a gifted writer.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“In this novel of stunning beauty, Anna Keesey gives us the American West at the turn of the century and a cast of unforgettable characters who will risk anything to tame it. Oregon’s hardscrabble frontier comes utterly alive for us, and in prose so lovely, spot-on, and accomplished, I found myself dog-earing nearly every page. An incredible debut—and a writer to watch.” Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
“‘One place understood helps us understand all other places better,’ Eudora Welty once said, and such is the case in this outstanding debut. Anna Keesey renders Little Century’s time and place marvelously, but the novel’s concerns are timeless and universal. With its beautiful language, memorable characters, and compelling story, Little Century is sure to gain a wide and appreciative audience.” Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena
“Dwindling resources, bribery, and corruption—issues as current as this morning’s newspaper—mix with optimism in Little Century, Anna Keesey’s briskly romantic, nontraditional Western…It’s Willa Cather with a sense of humor…Keesey portrays her men and women as deeply flawed but so achingly vulnerable that it is impossible not to identify with them.” O, The Oprah Magazine
“Little Century is rich and true and achingly beautiful. Its heroine, Esther Chambers, is the kind found in the best of classic literature: an innocent caught against the backdrop of escalating violence, whose essential goodness and loyalty shines through the savagery around her.” Kathleen Kent, bestselling author of The Heretic’s Daughter
“Keesey debuts with a confidently energetic tale…While Keesey offers a variety of characters with intriguing stories of their own, it is the richly depicted setting—from desert to dry good store—that showcases her talent.”   Publishers Weekly
“Highly entertaining reading. First novelist Keesey has produced a top-notch novel of Western Americana.” Library Journal (starred review)
“Keesey writes lyrically and examines the ferocity of frontier life with an unromantic and penetrating gaze.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Here is a fine novel, written with grace, about the settling of Oregon and the evening redness in the West. In the desert town of Century, haunted by Indian blood and barren to the core, the cattlemen hate the shepherds and the shepherds hate the cattlemen. But as the community is about to consume itself with greed and vengeance, a young orphan from Chicago shows up with a moral clarity that outstrips her age, to remind us that character matters and that justice is pursuant to conscience. Little Century is a frontier saga, a love story, and an epic of many small pleasures.” Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
“Anna Keesey conjures her Western landscape of ranches and homesteads with painterly richness, but it’s her uncanny historical imagination that really takes the breath away. Her characters pulse with life; their times feel as immediate, as urgent and vital, as our own.” Peter Ho Davies, author of The Welsh Girl
“This is a beautiful and completely absorbing book. In spare, luminous prose, Keesey perfectly conjures the textures, characters, and urgency of life in Century. I read it at a gallop and didn’t want it to end.” Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles
“Anna Keesey’s debut novel is historical fiction at its finest—precise and particular in detail, character, and setting, yet vast and epic in scope and theme. Little Century is a remarkable achievement.” Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948

Reviews

Reviews

by SarahT 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Go west, young woman!

When 18-year-old Esther Chambers’ mother dies suddenly in Chicago just as the 19th century is turning to the 20th, Esther finds herself alone in the world, without family or prospects for the future. Invited to the Oregon frontier by Ferris Pickett, a distant cousin whom she has never met, Esther accepts his offer to take her in and boards a westbound train. Upon arrival in the rough-hewn hamlet of Century, in the high desert of Peterson County, Oregon, Esther learns that things are more complicated than they seem on the wind-blown range lands surrounding Century. An ongoing feud over grazing land between the cattle ranchers and the sheep herders is escalating and turning more bitter, vindictive and violent by the day. Esther is the greenest greenhorn that a city girl could be, but she is also a quick study. Before long, she is questioning the official version of everything she’s learned since coming to Oregon. When her good friend Joe Peaslee, the eccentric owner of Century’s general store, goes missing, Esther has more questions than ever. Tavia Gilbert’s narration buoys up the story and carries the listener along. She is a natural for Esther’s ingenue voice and point of view, and is equally adept at portraying the range of other characters, from the gossiping womenfolk of Century to the rough-and-tumble buckaroos (they hate to be called cowboys). She makes it easy to forget that you’re hearing just one person read from a page, as the people of 1900 Oregon come to life all around you.

Author

Author Bio: Anna Keesey

Author Bio: Anna Keesey

Anna Keesey is a graduate of Stanford University and of the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, and her work has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories. She’s the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and has held residencies at MacDowell, Bread Loaf, Yaddo, and Provincetown. She has taught English and creative writing, most recently at Northwestern University and Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction
Runtime: 9.87
Audience: Adult
Language: English