A couple of years ago, during my ongoing search for pioneer historical fiction, I finally gave in and decided to try some good, old-fashioned westerns.
I was skeptical about the whole cowboys-and-Indians theme that I believed to be rampant in such books, but I was desperate for stories of the American frontier. A kind librarian steered me in the direction of Louis L’Amour.
This review is of The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour, Volume 1: The Frontier Stories. It was my first experience with L’Amour.
This was absolutely outstanding. I loved everything about it. There was only one story in this collection that I did not thoroughly enjoy, which unfortunately was the last story in the book, but that by no means ruined it for me.
I was enthralled by every page, and the action was so vivid and intense that at times, it was like watching a movie. The characters were believable and likable (or detestable when that was called for), and somehow Mr. L’Amour managed to convey the entire essence of a man without spending more than a few sentences describing him.
I was reluctant to finish the book because I did not want to be done with it, but I discovered a huge treasure trove of Louis L’Amour paperbacks at the library, and I will be haunting that western section for some time to come.
I highly recommend these stories to anyone who considers himself an American. I was transported back in time, in the midst of one of American history’s most important eras, fully engrossed in each adventure, itching to jump into the action. This man can really craft a story. They are tales of love, retribution, revenge, justice, survival, and moral victories. They are wonderful.
I am so excited to have discovered Louis L’Amour’s writing, even more so since I know I can really read my fill of them before I ever run out, since his canon is extensive.
Needless to say, my mind had been changed about the Western story.
I later read the second volume of The Frontier Stories, which I didn’t like quite as much, but it was still very enjoyable.
The reason I shared this review today is because I just picked up a copy of The Lonesome Gods, one of L’Amour’s novels. I’m excited to see how his style will differ from short story to full-length book. I hope to start reading it after I finish Watership Down, whenever that may be. (If you follow my other blog, you’ll understand my uncertainty.)
Given what we know about my library addiction, it’s fair to say that it may take a while until I get to The Lonesome Gods.