Quirky Books: In Open Spaces by Russell Rowland

Monday, November 9, 2009

In Open Spaces by Russell Rowland

Russell Rowland published "In Open Space" in 2002. Cited as a best seller in the Salt Lake City Tribune it has several memorable and quotable phrases. One passage involves the father explaining to his son to expect the worst so it easier to deal with when it happens.

Solid characters carry the plot. Their personal strength is intriguing. The historical placement is cliche. Passages are similar to other period movies or novels. Montana suffered a drought during the depression; otherwise, it was reminiscent of tales associated to the Dust Bowl. The drought in Montana is called, "the Water Shed."

The first person narrative by Blake provides the twists and turns moving the story forward. First person narrative is challenging, because the perspective is limited. However, his observations and interactions with other characters offer questions to confuse the reader with multiple plotlines, until each issue reaches a conclusion. Blake is astute and compassionate. I sometimes wondered if "In Open Spaces" was based on a historical figure like a baseball player or inventor.

Rowland researched the topic and was raised in Montana making it is easy to forget it is a fictional portrayal of common folk. The story is readable, text and long. If every paragraph is crucial to the context is questionable, because multiple plot-lines and unnecessary information disguise how the story will end. Curiosity over how everything will be resolved creates most of the intensity and reason to complete the novel. I have to read an entire book, before writing the book review. It is an issue of quality.

The ironic ending is melancholy, yet provides a good summation. A person should think about how much time they may to devote to reading before buying or borrowing this book from the library. Enthusing to people interested in history, philosophy, humanity, or agriculture, it is a mild form of entertain. Integrating farm life and technological advances as the primary focus limits the audience to those already interested in these topics.