Friday, February 21, 2014
Book Review: The Son by Philipp Meyer
Author: Phillip Meyer
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: R, for language, sex, violence
The McCulloughs consider themselves an old Texas family. Eli McCullough was the first child born in the republic in 1836, and in 1849, his family is murdered and he is kidnapped by Comanches. The narrative of The Son is split between Eli's story (his life among the Comanches and following with the Texas Rangers and Confederates), his son Peter's story (Peter feels guilt for Eli's power-hungry ways and his bloodlust), and Peter's granddaughter JA, who eventually takes over the family's ranch and oil empire.
While the McCulloughs may be an old family by American standards, one of the things Meyer does well is to show that Texas was a place with a history of conquest when the whites arrived. While Eli and JA seem intent on denying that others may have a claim to their lands and their riches, Peter can't approve of his father's decisions, or of the way he and his wife have chosen to raise their children. The three stories are fascinating, the characters rich, and the stories readable (it was a page-turner, despite it's length), but until the last few chapters, when a new voice is introduced, I had no idea how or if the three stories would come together. But Meyer doesn't disappoint, and the story is definitely worth reading, both for insights into the history of Texas and into human nature.