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Download The Big Rock Candy Mountain Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Big Rock Candy Mountain, by Wallace Stegner Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,621 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Wallace Stegner Narrator: Mark Bramhall Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Like John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, The Big Rock Candy Mountain is in the tradition of literature depicting the unraveling of the American dream and is widely considered Wallace Stegner's masterpiece. The quest for success at the frontier and the expression of rugged individualism are depicted as ideals that are broken and that can deeply wound one's family when taken too far.

On the Plains and mountains of the North American West, the Mason family--Bo, his wife Elsa, and their two boys--live a life of transience, poverty, and despair as they drift from town to town, state to state. This is the harrowing tale of a father with a violent streak, one who makes various attempts to claim his fortune in the hotel business, in farming, and in bootlegging whiskey during the Prohibition. It is told from the the perspective of Bo, of the son Bruce, and in the third person as it spans a time frame of over 30 years. Set during the harsh economic climate of the early 20th century, this harrowing saga is autobiographical of the author's childhood and details the abuses of Bo toward his family, as well as the instability of the Mason's family unit.

Wallace Stegner was a conservationist, and educator, and the author of many books of fiction and non-fiction, including Crossing to Safety, The Spectator Bird (National Book Award 1977), and Angle of Repose (Pulitzer Prize 1972). Much of his work focuses on the excesses of the ego, such as wastefulness of love and environmental resources, in pursuit of the American dream.

Bo Mason, his wife, and his two boys live a transient life of poverty and despair. Drifting from town to town and from state to state, the violent, ruthless Bo seeks his fortune in the hotel business, in new farmland, and, eventually, in illegal rum-running throughout the treacherous back roads of the American Northwest. Each peak of success takes him a little bit higher, and each valley sinks him lower than ever before—both financially and in his relationship with his family.

Based largely on his own childhood, Stegner has created a masterful, harrowing saga of a family trying to survive during the lean years of the early twentieth century. It is the conflict between the hardscrabble existence and Bo’s pursuit of the frontier myth and of the American Dream that gives the book such resonance and power.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An irreplaceable classic.”

    Robert Stone

  • “Stegner has felt the spell of mountain and prairie, of drought, flood, and blizzard…A harrowing saga.”

    New York Times

  • “Stands out beautifully and unforgettably.”

    New Yorker

  • “The writing is achingly beautiful…A touching story that is narrated brilliantly by Mark Bramhall, who studied acting at Harvard, UC Berkeley, the American Conservatory Theater, and as a Fulbright scholar at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has starred in many west-coast productions and has played featured roles in such television series as Alias, NYPD Blue, and The X-Files. Capturing the mid-western twangs of Minnesota and Utah, and reading with an understated emotion, this is a tour de force that will bring tears to the eyes of listeners.”


Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mom | 2/19/2014

    " Enjoyable but so long that I never did get through the final chapters. I will go back someday. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mandy | 2/15/2014

    " As far as I'm concerned you can forget Updike and Roth and Bellow and all those other "great" American novelists - Stegner is the one to read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Pat Dejong | 2/11/2014

    " Very good if you like sagas. Interesting because I live in salt lake city area and the end takes place in slc. A bit long would be my only critism. Excellent characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jefe | 2/4/2014

    " Decent. Well-written, but rather slow. Well developed characters. Reminds me of The Brothers K (which is possibly the best book ever written... aside from the first 100 pages) "

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