The Power of the Dog: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Now an Academy Award-winning Netflix film by Jane Campion, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst: Thomas Savage's acclaimed Western is "a pitch-perfect evocation of time and place" (Boston Globe) for fans of East of Eden and Brokeback Mountain.
Set in the wide-open spaces of the American West, The Power of the Dog is a stunning story of domestic tyranny, brutal masculinity, and thrilling defiance from one of the most powerful and distinctive voices in American literature. The novel tells the story of two brothers—one magnetic but cruel, the other gentle and quiet—and of the mother and son whose arrival on the brothers’ ranch shatters an already tenuous peace. From the novel’s startling first paragraph to its very last word, Thomas Savage’s voice—and the intense passion of his characters—holds listeners in thrall.
"Gripping and powerful...A work of literary art." —Annie Proulx, from her afterword
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|Listening Length||8 hours and 21 minutes|
|Author||Thomas Savage, Annie Proulx - afterword|
|Narrator||Chad Michael Collins, Annie Proulx|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||19 January 2021|
|Publisher||Little, Brown & Company|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 2,005 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in LGBTQ+ Historical Fiction
9 in Small Town & Rural Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
29 in Westerns (Books)
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This book, based on an incident in the author's life, is a privilege to read; I read it when it was first published, and it has stayed with me always.
Rereading it again, with Jane Campion having announced that she begins filming her own adaptation at the end of 2019 year with her long time collaborator Elisabeth Moss as Rose and Benedict Cumberbatch as Phil, this promises to be a great adaptation of a great book. Perfect casting which will bring this wondrous novel to the wider public it has always deserved. And with an ending which makes you toss the book away in disbelief...to pick it up again immediately and read the last chapters with closer concentration and intensity than before. And how many books can do that?
Could not recommend more highly!
Tensions rise when George marries a widow and she and her teenage son come to live at the ranch and Phil does not react well to the change in dynamics. This sparks a story full of resentment, revenge, hostility, power struggles and an impending sense of devastation.
I really love the writing in this book which evokes the tense atmosphere so well. The characters are well formed too and the complexities of Phil's character were so intriguing to unpick and frequently changed my perception of him throughout the course of the book.
This was a powerful read and one of those books which I can imagine will reveal more layers of the plot on a reread too.
It is set in the rural west of USA (Utah/California) and concerns two middle aged brothers, Phil and George, who run a huge and we assume profitable cattle ranch that they have taken over from their parents. It is clear that Phil is a highly educated but also very rough and ready rancher (I think of the character played by Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces). George is much less clever but somehow more personable. Somehow, with the help of numerous seasonally employed hands they run their ranching business.
Into the mix comes Rose Gordon the young and pretty widow of a local doctor who has committed suicide leaving her with a son. George meets and then marries Rose, who moves into George and Phil's ranch. The atmosphere becomes tense and malevolent. Rose and her son Peter seem to embody all the qualities that Phil despises and while not much is said, we do get to glimpse the inner workings of Rose and Phil's minds (but hardly anything of George). The tension clearly drives Rose (literally) to drink.
I do find Phil a fascinating character. His racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism make him deeply unpleasant but it is clear that he is no-one's fool and his loyalty to his men is touching. His attempts to mould Rose's son Peter to make him less "sissy", his open admiration of the more masculine qualities in people and his mixture of indifference and hostility towards women seem to imply a great deal of latent homosexuality in his make up.
The end is sudden and surprising but also fitting. Worth persevering with.
Don't be put off by the Western tag - this is anything but Cowboys and Indians. A disturbing pleasure, at once both a page turner and a thought provoking period drama with a timeless relevance I am glad I stumbled on this novel.