First Sentence: In the summer of 1917 Robert Grainier took part in an attempt on the life of a Chinese laborer caught, or anyway accused of, stealing from the company stores of the Spokane International Railway in Idaho Panhandle.
Back of the book:
Robert Grainier is a day labourer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century – an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainier struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime.
Suffused with the history and landscape of the American West – its otherworldly flora and fauna, its rugged loggers and bridge builders – the new novel by the National Book Award-winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life.
Quote from the book:
All his life Robert Grainier would remember vividly the burned valley at sundown, the most dreamlike business he’d ever witnessed waking – the brilliant pastels of the last light overhead, some clouds high and white, catching daylight from beyond the valley, others ribbed and gray and pink, the lowest of them rubbing the peaks of Bussard and Queen mountains; and beneath this wondrous sky the black valley, utterly still, the train moving through it making a great noise but unable to wake this dead world.
* * *
Last Sentence: And that time was gone forever.