Wednesday, April 09, 2014


The Son, Philipp Meyer, HarperCollins Publishers, 2013, 572 pp

Perhaps because this was the final book I read for the Tournament of Books and I was a bit weary of the project by then, I found reading The Son a chore. 

Perhaps because I so admired American Rust, I longed for a similar emotional impact and became annoyed when that sort of jolt came so much less often in this novel.

In any case, I was disappointed. It was only my self-imposed intention to read the entire TOB list before the tournament ended that kept me going. I felt pretty intrepid as a reader for making the goal-the first time in my four years of following the tournament-but I hold a slight grudge against Philipp Meyer for making the last sprint feel like a marathon.

I did not mind taking another look at Texas history, since half of my immediate family now lives there. In fact, my 12 year old granddaughter is being forced to study the history of Texas at school. Perhaps it is shallow of me, but I like Larry McMurtry better. 

There are actually a plethora of sons in The Son. Only one daughter rather saves the reader from drowning in testosterone, though I'm afraid she did die a slow death from poisoning by that hormone. None of the sons lived up to the sheer balls of Colonel Eli McCullough. In fact, his great granddaughter Jeanne Anne won the contest on bringing the Colonel's philosophy of life into the 21st century.

I felt the author was trying a little too hard to write a Great American Novel, not that he shouldn't have tried. He has an agenda in The Son. He also had one in American Rust but made it more palatable or visceral or personal for this reader.

(The Son is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)


  1. I listened to the unabridged audio version of 'The Son' in 2014 as it was a book club selection for a book group I was a member of at the time.

    I wasn't overly enamored with 'The Son' and have forgotten much of the storyline and plot details, etc.

    I remember being surprised to discover that 'The Son' had been nominated for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I found it difficult to fathom that this novel would be nominated for such a prestigious prize as the Pulitzer Prize.

    Here's a link to my review of 'The Son' should you care to read it:

    1. Yes, he didn't quite do it for me. I went and read your review and left a comment. His first book, American Rust was a winner though, for me.