Nickel Mountain

Nickel Mountain John Gardner s most poignant novel of improbable love At the heart of John Gardner s Nickel Mountain is an uncommon love story when at the obese anxious and gentle Henry Soames marries seventeen

  • Title: Nickel Mountain
  • Author: John Gardner
  • ISBN: 9780811216784
  • Page: 197
  • Format: Paperback
  • John Gardner s most poignant novel of improbable love.At the heart of John Gardner s Nickel Mountain is an uncommon love story when at 42, the obese, anxious and gentle Henry Soames marries seventeen year old Callie Wells who is pregnant with the child of a local boy it is much than years which define the gulf between them But the beauty of this novel is the gradualJohn Gardner s most poignant novel of improbable love.At the heart of John Gardner s Nickel Mountain is an uncommon love story when at 42, the obese, anxious and gentle Henry Soames marries seventeen year old Callie Wells who is pregnant with the child of a local boy it is much than years which define the gulf between them But the beauty of this novel is the gradual revelation of the bond that develops as this unlikely couple experiences courtship and marriage, the birth of a son, isolation, forgiveness, work, and death in a small Catskill community in the 1950s The plot turns on tragic events they might be accidents or they might be acts of will involving a cast of rural eccentrics that includes a lonely amputee veteran, a religious hysteric thought by some to be the devil himself and an itinerant Goat Lady Questions of guilt, innocence, and even murder are eclipsed by deeds of compassion, humility, and redemption, and ultimately by Henry Soames quiet discovery of grace.Novelist William H Gass, a friend and colleague of the author, has written an introduction that shines new light on the work and career of the much praised but often misunderstood John Gardner.

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      Published :2019-03-06T18:08:25+00:00

    2 thoughts on “Nickel Mountain

    1. John Champlin Gardner was a well known and controversial American novelist and university professor, best known for his novel Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf myth.Gardner was born in Batavia, New York His father was a lay preacher and dairy farmer, and his mother taught English at a local school Both parents were fond of Shakespeare and often recited literature together As a child, Gardner attended public school and worked on his father s farm, where, in April of 1945, his younger brother Gilbert was killed in an accident with a cultipacker Gardner, who was driving the tractor during the fatal accident, carried guilt for his brother s death throughout his life, suffering nightmares and flashbacks The incident informed much of Gardner s fiction and criticism most directly in the 1977 short story Redemption, which included a fictionalized recounting of the accident.From enpedia wiki John_Gar

    2. I visited an old friend recently – John Gardner’s Nickel Mountain. I’ve been growing old waiting for the Gardner revival (the deceased literary novelist not likely to be confused with the living spy novelist John Gardner, although it bears mentioning), and was pleased to see October Light come back into print – a brilliant meta-novel fit to hold its own among the Lethems and Franzens and Safran Foers of today. Okay publishers: now it is time to reprint Nickel Mountain: A Pastoral Novel, [...]

    3. Perhaps our postmodern treasure hunter Nathan "N.R" Gaddis can explain to me what it is in me that makes me discard volume 22 of A Dance to the Music of Time, four charmingly comic and light volumes away from major literary street cred, to start consuming the moldering and clotted corpus of John Gardner? I seem to have the same affliction as him, a love for the obscure writers of the 20th century, the suspicion they are virtuoso somehow so virtuosic they somehow can't ascend into everyone's book [...]

    4. When I first read this book, as a college freshman in 1982, it moved me very deeply for reasons I still don't understand. Little did I know that at the very same time I was reading this book, its author died in a motorcycle crash. I went on to read Gardner's other fiction, as well as his two books on writing fiction, and appreciated all of them. Looking back, I probably read Nickel Mountain because it was by the same author as Grendel, the retelling of Beowulf that Gardner wrote from the point o [...]

    5. Henry Soames--the morbidly obese owner of a truckstop diner in the Catskills, an angelic but tragically inarticulate soul--proposes marriage to his pregnant, teen waitress when the girl's boyfriend leaves town. Gardner was a medievalist and philosopher at heart, and this story represents perhaps his most successful blending of those passions with his high ideals about the modern novel. Must love always evolve into a decision--or could the decision, and a grotesque pairing, ever reverse that dyna [...]

    6. Over the years, I've encountered references to the late John Gardner & have had a copy of Nickel Mountain gathering dust for ages. In attempting to cull my shelves of surplus books, I began reading his novel & found it alternately quite interesting but also at times not so very well-developed. In reading about the author's life, I began to sense that some of the issues touched on within the tale and some of the characters he employed to tell the story might have been rather too close to [...]

    7. Believing that a novel should speak for itself, I usually recommend skipping introductions, however the William H. Gass introduction to Nickel Mountain is such a perfect gateway to both the book and its creator that I’d like to give it an additional five stars, for a total of ten. In a mere ten pages Gass has made me feel like I personally knew John Gardner and better understand the rather dogmatic times he had to create in. Gass writes of Gardner: He caused to rise up like an enveloping visio [...]

    8. I've just finished Nickel Mountain by John Gardner, one of those books where 'nothing' happens, just imagination at play on the characters' emotions. It's set in the Catskills which reads as very beautiful. Gardner is supposed to be one of those 'good' writers who are hard to read. I really like his prose, and this novel was accessible, like a soap opera with soul. It was particularly good on the difficult, compromised, disappointed and yet fulfilling ways in which people relate to one another. [...]

    9. The language of Nickel Mountain by John Gardner is absolutely beautiful, but if you're looking for a book with a plot, skip this one. Obese, middle aged Henry Soames is content in his life running a diner in the Catskills until he hires 17 year old Callie to help him. Callie is in a doomed affair and winds up pregnant. Henry marries her. I have seen Nickel Mountain touted as a love story, but I don't see much love in it, except perhaps for the love both Henry and Callie have for the child. Henry [...]

    10. From the title pageNICKEL MOUNTAIN A Pastoral NovelA different book, a pastoral novel inded, but my review brings me back to my own bucket of reviewer cliches. I love this book, but I could see how others would think it slow, stupid and plain silly, or that the people not realisticI understand, I guess. But dang it, if you feel that way about this book, what is the point of living? OK, I may be exaggerating, but it is for a good cause.Consider these quotes from the book (another of my reviewer c [...]

    11. The plot is almost non-existent, and the characters failed to sustain my interest until the very end---in the interior monologues of George Loomis and William Freund---but by then it was too late. The relationship between Henry Soames and his teenage bride is never fully explored, even though the first half of the book is preoccupied almost exclusively with these two characters. The novel is set in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York which is one of the most scenic places in the eastern U [...]

    12. While his writing is superb at painting mental pictures and flushing out total characterizations, the plot plods so slowly it is tough to stay with it without breezing past paragraph after paragraph in an attempt to keep up your concentration. It would be better to just read parts of it aloud,let the beauty of the descriptions soak in, and let it go at that.

    13. I didn't enjoy it as much as Mickelsson's Ghosts, but that's no slight to this work.A character piece of the highest quality, I don't know why more people don't know/appreciate Gardner's work.Human realtionships of all kinds are potrayed poignantly, and sometimes absurdly-but they always feel real.-40

    14. This is another 5-star book in my shelf.Gardner not only preached superior writing but also excelled at the practice. I read this work with awe and wonder at what Mr. Gardner achieved with his prose. I agree with the Chicago Sun-Times reviewer who wrote: "There is enough life here for several novels." Mr. Gardner's prose is full of life. This is a wonderful American work by an American master.

    15. Anticlimactic, boring, ramblingere was hardly any story in this super long book. I could skip an entire page and not have missed a thing. The author is obviously very skillful with words and colorful descriptions, but that alone doesn't make a good book. This was a waste of a week.

    16. I liked Nickel Mountain better than Grendel which was too odd a modern fairytale for me at the time. Nickel Mountain was closer in spirit to The Sunlight Dialogues.

    17. I would have given this book a 4 or 5 but there are times that it seriously lags and could have used some cutting. The story is simply beautiful.

    18. In Nickel Mountain, published in 1973 when John Gardner was forty but written much earlier, the author's genius is on full display. This is the story of Henry Soames, 42, who runs the Stop-Off, a diner situated along a highway in the mountainous Catskills in southeastern New York State. Henry—obese, timid, thoughtful, unambitious—waits for whatever life brings his way, much as he waits for customers to darken the door of the Stop-Off. Grossly overweight (a trait inherited from his gentle fat [...]

    19. This was an incredibly interesting read. Gardner's novel Grendel is my favorite of all time and even inspired a tattoo of mine. With this in mind, I ventured into Nickel Mountain. I must caution anyone going to read this, it's not the happiest or easiest read around. The plot feels slightly pointless depending on how you look at it, and there's nothing fantastical about it. This is a very realistic novel in how it goes about things.All that being said, I absolutely adore Nickel Mountain. First o [...]

    20. What a wonderful story! This book moves slowly and thoughtfully, as Henry Soames the protagonist does. The relationships Gardner develops in Nickel Mountain are realistic and unsentimental, but rich and full of their own kind of love. This is a novel I come back to over and over again and am never disappointed.

    21. This is a very unique book that starts out beautifully and the prose carries through right to the last page. At first it appears to have no plot but then I feel because it is character driven, the plot is not important in this case. There are many themes present such as longing and pain from lost opportunities, grief, death and impending death. There is a slathering of allegory throughout and don't expect to understand the intention of the author, read and discover it. Allow the story to unfold [...]

    22. The writing is excellent. My introduction to Gardner's work was through his Becoming a Novelist book and then Grendel. Gardner's writing make me think.The story of Henry Soames and Callie is so plain, and yet they live in a majestic setting. I suppose that's part of the point: look at the grandness of the world around these characters who really do not live lives worth noting. But don't most of us have such lives? And when we come to be at peace with ourselves (as Henry and Callie strive to do) [...]

    23. I found this most disappointing. It was worthy and well-intentioned, but dull, reasonably predictable and not engaging. Some of main character Henry Soames actions are so stupid as to lose sympathy, and other characters are sketches rather than people. The story arc was hard to believe, and the pacing was off, with too much emphasis on some sections and not enough on others. It had the feel of having been rushed and not cafrefully edited. Fell very short of Gardner’s other novels, such as Sunl [...]

    24. Henry Soames is a confirmed bachelor who keeps adopting strays. An abandoned pregnant teen-ager he marries to legitimize (it’s the 50’s when single motherhood wasn’t an option) and a slightly crazy Jehovah’s Witness whose wife dies in an arson fire. He is surrounded by people who see the world as meaningless, and in the end, so does Henry. But Henry is saved from despair, cynicism, and/or anger by his tender-hearted view of those he shares his life with.

    25. A simple, poignant story of two people, an obese, middle aged owner of a diner and a young woman who drifts into his lift and stays. As they weave their way through life, Gardner reveals what they mean to each other. With a cast of lively characters, catchy dialog, and philosophical musings, this novel brings the reader along for an amusing, thoughtful, and heart warming journey. Gardner is a masterful story teller.

    26. After reading "On Becoming a Novelist", I was ready to snatch up anything Garnder had written. This was my first, and it just wasn't for me.The story is a good one, but I think there is a lot of purple prose and wasted characters. The diner, while being an intricate center of the story, never really takes shape for me. It never moves past being just the diner, instead of this spot for out-of-towners and lost hope. Whatever, just not for me.

    27. I found a lot of Buddhist undertones in this beautifully written tale about an obese hero, his desperate wife, and the gritty characters who become more of who they are destined to become. Is their destiny karma? Does Henry transcend his mortal life and attain an enlightened state?I think so but like real enlightenment, it is a slog through the mud to get there.or so I've heard:)

    28. Gardner is a favorite author of mine, as he is many, many others. NICKEL MTN has a wealth of interesting elements but struggled to keep my interest throughout. I don't think Gardner ever wrote anything poorly or anything bad, but some are better than others. For me, this came in as a fleshed out sketch rather than a finished book.

    29. I gave this a three star because I I love John Gardner's prose and attention to detail, but this one was a bastard to finish. It's a bad sign when you're rolling your eyes and trying to skip ahead in the last two chapters. In the end I felt like this was merely sentimental, with nothing to take from it except the usual "oh we suffer, and suffering is beautiful" cliche. I was disappointed.

    30. A good read - I 'found' this book while searching for something to meet the criteria of this challenge so I like finding something that hadn't been on my radar screen. Gardner is an excellent writer. It felt a little like short stories to me and was just a little short on plot to advance it along, but I can see why it was a bestseller when it came out.

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