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Extended Audio Sample High Plains Tango: A Novel, by Robert James Waller Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (283 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Robert James Waller Narrator: Sam Freed Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A haunting, evocative story of a small town, a beautiful and mysterious woman, and the man forever changed by both.

The wild places are where no one is looking anymore. Out there on the high plains, among the Sioux reservations and the silent buttes, among the small towns dying and the people with them, you can hear the wind. And on the back of the wind is the sound of an old accordion—tangos—mingling with the lonely thump of a single drum in the nighttime and a far-off warrior’s cry. On the back of the wind is the smell of worn saddle leather and sawdust, of sandalwood, and smoke from ancient ceremonial fires. To this, to a town called Salamander, comes Carlisle McMillan, a traveler and master carpenter seeking a place of quiet amid the grinding roar of progress. Near Wolf Butte, a strange and apparently haunted monolith, he finds his quiet, or so he believes, and begins rebuilding a decrepit house as a tribute to the gruff old man who taught him a carpenter’s skills, rebuilding his life at the same time.

He finds two very different, independent women: Gally Deveraux, who works at a diner in Salamander and longs for something more than she is, and Susanna Benteen, beautiful and enigmatic, who was drawn to Salamander for mysterious reasons of her own, a woman the town has labeled a witch. The women and his carpenter’s trade and an old Indian known as Flute Player bring Carlisle a sense of contentment for a while. But his quiet is shattered as bulldozer treads begin to turn and the Yerkes County War commences. Run or stand your ground, that is Carlisle’s dilemma, Gally on one side, Susanna on the other.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Blends Waller’s trademark romanticism with earthy humor and a powerful environmental message.”

    Dayton Daily News

  • “A solid story with interesting characters…Waller gives the narrator the most wonderful wit.“

    Omaha World-Herald

  • “Sam Freed’s deep voice is reminiscent of storytellers of old. His suitable alterations of tone add lyricism, reinforcing the evocative depictions of the stark yet picturesque landscape.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by JenC. | 2/17/2014

    " This was a very good novel about a man's disillusionment with corporate America and his move to solitude until the halfway point where it took a turn for the boring. The narration changed to a newspaper reporter interviewing locals and dirty politicians/land developers' phone calls to one another regarding Emiment Domain and the government building a freeway through his land. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Margie Morris | 1/29/2014

    " This is one excellent book,I loved every bit of it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Cyndi | 1/18/2014

    " I like the main character; that's the only reason I kept reading. The book went in too many directions at once, telling the history of the region, the politics of the area, the engineering of road building, and the character development. It was too preachy regarding environmentalism, etc. I did like that the battle against the bull dozer was not entirely a success and how the main character built a good life for himself and others in the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Deidre | 12/31/2013

    " One of those fantastic books whose characters become a part of your life & stick with you for a long long time. Savor this one. "

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