MOONTRAP by Don Berry


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A successor to Trask (1960) is again set in Oregon in the 1840's and again retains the authenticity of the time and this isolated territory where this time old Webb, a mountain man, views the coming of towns and farms with intense distrust. Camped on the edge of a settlement, Webb renews an old friendship with Johnson Monday, a farmer now married to an Indian- Mary, and the couple is about to have a first child. Webb and Monday horseplay together, as they did in the old free life, but Mary, following a difficult childbirth, withdraws into herself. And after an inflammatory speech by the town preacher against mixed marriages, and the hanging of Indians in town, Mary smothers the baby and kills herself. Webb in turn kills the preacher and runs for the mountains, while Monday, arrested as an accomplice, lets himself be drawn into joining the posse. He suspects, rightly, that Webb wants to die and be removed from a world in which he no longer has a place.... The narrative and its pace are good, but the characters are by nature limited, and tend to be defined by dialects. It is certainly more than a western and it is an indigenous, valid and often touching novel.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1962
ISBN: 0870710397
Publisher: Viking