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Red Rover: Book summary and reviews of Red Rover by Deirdre McNamer

Red Rover

by Deirdre McNamer

Red Rover
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2007
    272 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

A stirring novel about idealism laid waste and the haunting, redemptive bonds of friendship. Red Rover tells the story of three Montana men who get swept up in the machinations of World War II and its fateful aftermath. As boys, Aidan and Neil Tierney ride horseback for miles across unfenced prairie, picturing themselves as gauchos, horsemen of the Argentine pampas. A hundred miles away, Roland Taliaferro wants only to escape the violence and poverty of his family. As war approaches, Aidan and Roland join the FBI. Roland serves Stateside while Aidan—in a gesture as exuberant as a child in a game of Red Rover—requests hazardous duty and is sent as an undercover agent to Nazi-ridden Argentina. Neil becomes a B-29 bomber pilot.

Aidan returns to Montana ill, shaken, and divided from Roland over the FBI’s role in the war. On a cold December day in 1946, he is found fatally shot, an apparent suicide. The FBI stays silent. Only when Neil and Roland are very old men, meeting by chance in a rehabilitation facility, does Aidan’s death become illuminated, atoned for, and fully put to rest. This beautifully crafted, far- ranging novel will catch readers up in the grace and hard truths of the lives it unfolds.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. McNamer's insight into her damaged cast generates a deep emotional response that builds toward a reunion and revelation that bring satisfaction, if not peace." - PW.

"Ms. McNamer's novel is vividly observed and original [actually entirely engrossing] in its conception. She's a wonderfully smart and surprising sentence-writer, and the burnish on this work has left not a word out of place. This is 'the novel as story-telling.' And it is of a very high order." - Richard Ford.

The information about Red Rover shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Mark

Coming-of-(old)-age in Montana
Novels set in familiar places are often a disappointment. We expect the places and institutions and people to be accurate, even though we know that the author has a license to write fiction. So I came to this novel - Red Rover by Deirdre McNamer - anchored in the Sweet Grass Hills of Montana (ancestral homestead of my father) prepared to say "That's not how it is." But Deidre McNamer got the Hills, and the story's transect south to Butte and Missoula, exactly true to place.

A few years ago, during a family vigil at a residential nursing facility (coincidentally, in Missoula), I matched up the often silent and wheelchair-ridden residents with the photos and biographies of their younger selves, posted at their room entrances. In Red Rover, these life stories come in decadal chapters that mostly work in time-tidal rhythms, working forward from the 1920's and backwards from the present, slowly revealing the wartime betrayal of a favorite son (" ,,, a time collision so violent it threw certain humans away").

This is a coming-of-age novel, not just of adolescence, but of the greater courage needed near the end of life. In the end, McNamer shows us the survivors. Those who are uprooted and transplanted do poorly. Those who are at home, who don't need a GPS unit to know exactly where they are, are rooted and ready.

Marion

Montage...
In a style as brisk and astringent as the wind blowing across the Montana plains, McNamer tells the story of brothers Neil and Aidan Tierney. The author is deft at
both delineating characters, and evoking times and places. Book clubs could find grist for the mill here.

Ruth

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Deirdre Over
An intriguing story is slowly revealed bit by bit in Deirdre McNamer’s new novel, Red Rover.

I found the book compelling to read. Both the vocabulary and sentence structure invited my brain to awaken, take action and to dust off any lingering neuro-cobwebs that have accumulated therein from lack of use.

Red Rover took me back to my early childhood during W.W.II and to the feeling of what it was like to be a young person in the USA following the war. While the state of Montana, USA, has only been a vacation destination for me, it’s rough and natural beauty was once again brought to life through her quiet descriptions.

The men, and women, that live and breathe within the story’s atmosphere (comprised of both time and place) are both distinctly individual and commonly human. Each character lives knowing or discovering the meaning of his/her own life.

I chose to read Red Rover, because I have enjoyed reading books written by Cormac McCarthy. McCarthy has portrayed the strong bonds that men can build with each other and the deep feelings that they acknowledge within themselves. Yes, those bonds and acknowledgments are present in Red Rover, also. I now enjoy adding Deirdre McNamer to my list of authors who can remind me of the strength and beauty residing in some human beings.

Five stars. ***** Highly recommended for all, excepting the very young. Should inspire lively discussions in book groups.

Catherine

Excellent Book!
Wonderful story! The characters are fully developed, and the descriptions of time and place make you feel like you are there. It is a story of family but also one of suspense and with a little bit of history thrown in. I would recommend this book for men and women and for book clubs.

Gary

red rover red rover read deirdre over and over
I've never read anything by the author before, but that is about to change! This a book about life,about brothers, about families and war, and about the changes life has in store, and the events that lead to these mysteries. The author certainly knows Montana,by the description of life in and around the state you will to. To me more than anything this is a book about the wonders of the English language. There are passages that I had to highlight so I could come back to them. Sheer pleasure of the written word! Read the book and enjoy!

Arden

Not an easy read, but well worth the effort
Overall, I love this book. But...it is not easy to get into, and it jumps back and forth in both time and characters. It's like a fine instrument that is in need of tuning, one string, or note (or character) at a time. The process is a little scratchy, but when the tuning is done, the symphony is wonderful. The characters start out as children in the 20's, and travel back and forth in time through the 2nd World War and into nursing homes and senility. It's a well written, eloquent book. I would think a book club could have a wonderful time dissecting the characters and events, because as the narrative jumps from one era and character to another, it does get confusing, and each reader will follow it in his own way, filling in any missing pieces.

...7 more reader reviews

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Deirdre McNamer is the author of the acclaimed novels Rima in the Weeds, One Sweet Quarrel, and My Russian. She has won praise for the intelligence, beauty, precision, and sweep of her fiction. Red Rover is her first novel in seven years.

McNamer teaches in the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the University of Montana, Missoula, and chaired the fiction panel that judged the 2011 National Book Awards

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