PIKE'S PEAK: A Family Saga by Frank Waters

PIKE'S PEAK: A Family Saga

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The semi-autobiographical trilogy on which this western family dynasty novel is based has been out of print for twenty-five years, and one wonders if anything has been gained in its retelling except length. And monotonic length there is, as the author follows the fading fortune of the Rogier family from just after the Civil War through three generations. It was Joseph Rogier who moved to a Colorado settlement in the shadow of Pike's Peak and who first caught the mining fever, although he had previously established himself (with his family of his own children and nieces and nephews) as a successful contractor. Through the years, as Rogier dreams, delves and squanders the family's savings, first his austere Indian son-in-law Cable -- who tried to bridge the Indian and white worlds -- and then his grandson March struggle to free themselves from ancient hopes and lost purposes, while the women sorrowfully keep watch over the family decline. At the close, March, after restlessly wandering at home and in Mexico, leaves the family to ""do his digging"" within the hearts of people rather than in the earth. The times, the country and even a Rogier or two have some solidity, but the author is overly fond of a boozy grandeur like: "". . . now in summer when the gently gushing female rain and the hard male rain unite to fructify the sterile earth of human flesh. . . ."" Slow freight which should have been left on the siding.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1971
Publisher: Swallow Press