by Owen Wister
'The Virginian' is the source of most of
the best in the western tradition of the American scene. There is the strong,
silent hero who has a nemesis. At first, they avoid a direct confrontation
but the nemesis continues to harrass the Virginian until the final shootout.
I did not like everything about this book. For instance, the scene about Emily, the chicken who doesn't know she's a chicken. So she tries to mother every rock and stone that resembles an egg. I had little interest in that, and understood it little.
The hero has the flaw of boyish humor and playfulness. He also cleaves too tightly to a high moral code that doesn't allow him to accept a less that perfect resolution to a problem, like that with Trampas, his nemesis.
Molly, the Virginian's love interest, is well-drawn and important to the construction of the story. Her withholding of affection was convincing to me.
There were cattle/horse rustlers, with Trampas involved - a
stereotypical scene in westerners.
The Virginian was an admirable, high-character person.
The enjoyment I derived from the book came mainly from the display of his character and that of Molly's. And also the feeling of being on the edge of civilization, a place were Adam and eve could easily have experienced the Garden of Eden.