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Return to Oakpine

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“ [A] moving novel about friendship, forgiveness, and mortality.” —Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition

Ron Carlson has always been a critics’ favorite, but Return to Oakpine shows the acclaimed writer at his finest. In this tender and nostalgic portrait of western American life, Carlson tells the story of four middle-aged friends who once played in a band while growing up together in small-town Wyoming. One of them, Jimmy Brand, left for New York City and became an admired novelist. Thirty years later in 1999, he’s returned to die. Craig Ralston and Frank Gunderson never left Oakpine; Mason Kirby, a Denver lawyer, is back on family business. Jimmy’s arrival sends the other men’s dreams and expectations, realized and deferred, whirling to the surface. And now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most essential thing they ever do.

From Publishers Weekly

May 13, 2013 – The smalltown homecoming featured in the fourth novel from Carlson (The Signal) proves a bittersweet and nostalgic one. Jimmy Brand, following a 30-year absence from his hometown and a successful career in New York City as a novelist, returns to Oakpine, Wyo., in 1999, broke and deathly ill from AIDS. His father Edgar, still wrongly blaming Jimmy for his oldest son Matt s fatal boating accident and struggling to accept Jimmy s homosexuality, banishes him to the family s garage-converted apartment. Jimmy s old friend Craig Ralston, the town hardware store owner, comes by with his teenage son, Larry, to fix up the garage, sparking Craig s fond memories of their high school band, Life on Earth. Craig, along with fellow bandmates Mason Kirby, who left Oakpine to pursue a lucrative law career in Denver, and Frank Gunderson, a local bar owner, decide to resurrect Life on Earth, a welcomed diversion from their divorces and unsatisfying jobs, while Jimmy seeks to repair the long-term rift with his father. Carlson warmly evokes smalltown life, such as when he describes Larry s senior high school prom, and this sometimes-melancholy tale reaches a satisfying conclusion with the reunited rock group s entry into a local battle-of-the-bands contest.
Return to Oakpine
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  • $5.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jul 11, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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