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review 2017-06-10 22:21
Shane: The Critical Edition ★★★☆☆
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

There is a story, interesting perhaps only to me, behind my acquiring this book. My father, who is an enthusiast of all things representing the American West in the late 1800’s (movies, novels, histories, artifacts), gave me this “critical edition” together with an old dog-eared paperback edition of Shane, and told me a little of my own family history related to it. As little more than a boy himself, starting his journey toward manhood, he disembarked from a bus in San Antonio for his pre-enlistment physical. It was, I believe, his first time away from home where he was without the comfort of family and friends, and facing an uncertain future. He had decided to enlist in the Army, knowing that he’d be given more choices than if he waited until Uncle Sam drafted him for Korea. It was in that San Antonio bus station, on a spinning rack of paperbacks, that he discovered Shane. Schaefer’s story of the heroic gunslinger, the heroic settler, and the boy who idolized them, connected strongly with him. My father told me of falling completely into the story, finishing it on that last bus ride and re-reading it over and over during the next several years. And having now read it myself, I can see a little of both protagonists, the gunslinger and the settler, in the man that my father is, and in the man he has tried to be.

 

As for the novella itself, I found it an entertaining read, both in story and writing style, although I’m a little puzzled by how it could have inspired so many literary critiques. This “critical edition” contains many more pages in essays and critiques than the story itself, and these were considerably duller, especially as I’ve not read any of the other westerns that were referenced. I suspect that a true fan of the genre would have enjoyed the essays more than I did. But for my father’s sake, I read it all, and we can talk about it more when I see him next.

 

I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly square Frontierland 2: Read a book with a main character who knows how to handle a gun, or where someone is shot.

 

Previous Updates:                                          

5/29/17 91/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1566898/shane-91-432-pg

 

5/31/17 139/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1567367/shane-139-432-pg

 

 

6/3/17 176/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568132/shane-176-432-pg

 

6/3/17 191/432 http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1568193/shane-191-432-pg

 

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text 2017-06-03 17:55
Shane: 191/432 pg
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

He was standing there, straight and superb, the blood on his face bright as a badge, and he was laughing.

 

It was a soft laugh, soft and gentle, not in amusement at Red Marlin or any single thing, but in the joy of being alive and released from long discipline and answering the urge in mind and body. The lithe power of him, so different from father's sheer strength, was singing in every fiber of him. 

 

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text 2017-06-03 14:07
Shane: 176/432 pg
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

Then he was talking rapidly to me, as close to pleading as he could ever come. "I tried. You can see that, can't you, Bob? I let him ride me and I gave him his chance. A man can keep his self-respect without having to cram it down another man's throat. Surely you can see that, Bob?"

 

I could not see it. What he was trying to explain to me was beyond my comprehension then. And I could think of nothing to say. 

 

"I left it up to him. He didn't have to jump me that second time. He could have called it off without crawling. He could have if he was man enough. Can't you see that, Bob?"

 

And still I could not. But I said I could. He was so earnest and he wanted me to so badly. It was a long, long time before I did see it and then I was a man myself and Shane was not there for me to tell...

 

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text 2017-05-31 15:51
Shane: 139/432 pg
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

Said by a man with a dangerous and morally dubious past to a boy whom he has just found pretending to be a gunslinger: 

"Listen, Bob. A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel - or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good - as as bad  as the man who carries it. Remember that."

 

I'm not sure yet if this story is more about the boy learning to become a man than about the near-mythical gunslinger Shane. 

 

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text 2017-05-29 14:59
Shane: 91/432 pg
Shane: The Critical Edition - Jack Schaefer

There were sharp hidden hardnesses in him. But these were not for us. He was dangerous as mother had said. But not to us as father too had said. And he was no longer a stranger. He was a man like father in whom a boy could believe in the simple knowing that what was beyond comprehension was still clean and solid and right.

 

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