Google+ Bookslingers Blog: Home on the Range: Little Century by Anna Keesey

Home on the Range: Little Century by Anna Keesey

You know, for someone who doesn't eat meat, I've been reading an awful lot of books about cows.

It's been one of those weird canoe trips through Bookland. One errant paddle stroke in the library bookshelves and all of a sudden you're in a cowboy tributary. 

I currently reside in the prairies. If you stand on a pile of dirt, you can see the Rocky Mountains on a clear day. On a windy day, you can smell the cows and the feedlots. Despite or because of this, I've never had a jot of interest in western fiction. It's always been uncomfortably linked with the "cowboy and indians" variety of racism and seemed chockablock full of stereotypes.

So, imagine my surprise when I realized that I was reading on a theme:

It would see that this is the week of the cowboy. 

One of the most pleasant surprises on this detour has been the cracking morality fable Little Country by debut author, Anna Keesey. Set against a deadly turf way between sheep and cattle ranchers in the barrens of 1900 Oregon, it tells the story of one community's greed for land and possession that will destroy them.
Esther Chambers is an orphan. Eighteen years old, alone and with only enough money to last the month, she writes a desperate letter to her only living relative in Century, Oregon. And receives a reply.

She sets out on a four-day journey west from Chicago and arrives in a new world. Far from the civilized world of road and brick buildings, Century is a boom town dependent on the farmers and ranchers etching out a living in the dry deserts of Oregon. Cattle is king and it's local lord is her cousin, Ferris Pickett. Calculating and complicated, Pick is the owner of the Two Forks ranch and uses Esther as a pawn in the chessboard of land that he is fighting over with the sheep herders.

Esther's new claim on Half-A-Mind take will be the community's battleground. What starts as tit-for-tat juvenile sabotage between the camps will erupt into violence between the wild ranching buckaroos and fierce shepherds. One girl's heart hangs in the balance. Century will end in fire and blood.

If you enjoyed Little Country or want cowboy/prairie angst/heart-stopping stories of revenge, try:

The past of this Oregon - settlers duped, children abandoned, Indians deported and murdered - this past guaranteed that someday this band of sheep would be destroyed. Dominion begets domination. How can it end? Only justice can pacify history. And justice is hard to come by.
From Little Country by Anna Keesey