Best western novel?


(Kit Cope) #1

As an author of Western Fiction myself (Kit Cope Rides the High Country), I was wondering which or what western novels people out there feel are the greatest of all time or must reads.

For me, great western novels are few and far between - and treasures.

I will begin by sharing one that no true western fan can afford to miss: ‘Gone To Texas’ by Forest Carter, the novel that was made into the film ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’.


(Bill san Antonio) #2

Haven’t read that much western novels but I liked Louis Masterson’s (Kjell Hallbing) Morgan Kane series. There’s 80 stories in the series but I think I’ve read only 7-8 of them. Morgan Kane is a character that would have been great sw hero, he’s a bit psychotic, ladies man, gambler, drinks a lot and of course is a fast on the draw.


(Stanton) #3

Best western author is Robert Ullman


(ENNIOO) #4

Never read a western novel. Viewed one or two westerns in my time though.


(scherpschutter) #5

This fellow?

We’ve had such an author in Holland too, used various pseudonyms (I can’t remeber his real name, he was from Rotterdam if I’m not mistaken) and wrote over a hundred novels about cowboys and Indians (Buffalo Bill), detectives, spies, you name it.

Edit:

His name was Ad De Beer, he used the pseudo of Max Miller for his Buffalo Bill novels (I think I read them all):

http://www.jeugdpockets.nl/Buffalobill.html


(Stanton) #6

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:5, topic:2944”]This fellow?

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz-Josef_Stammel[/quote]

Yes, that fellow.

Great Wiki article … (was written by me :wink: )


(scherpschutter) #7

[quote=“Stanton, post:6, topic:2944”]Yes, that fellow.

Great Wiki article … (was written by me :wink: )[/quote]

Looks like this man was more ambitious than the Dutchman I mentioned. ‘Geheimauftrag’ seems influenced by the modern tendencies in western movie fiction of those days.

De Beer/Miller wrote in a simple, very direct style, a bit like Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author of the Tarzan and John Carter novels). As a child I thought his style was very expressive, but when I re-read a few of his western novels as an adult, it seemed rather awkward, but the storytelling was still decent. His stories were marked by latent, occasionally very disctinct homo-erotic symbolism and I’m quite sure he was homo-sexual. He loved to mention that men wore only trousers and that their upper body was naked. There are, no surprise, hardly any female characters in his novels.


(Phil H) #8

I’ve been a life long fan of western movies but for many years thought that western novels were of generally poor quality. It turned out I just hadn’t tried the right ones. These days a list of my favourite western novels and writers runs quite long but amongst them would be the work of the following authors for sure:

Thomas Eidson
Robert B. Parker
Elmore Leonard
Thomas Berger
Charles Portis
Edward Abbey
Larry McMurtry


(scherpschutter) #9

[quote=“Phil H, post:8, topic:2944”]I’ve been a life long fan of western movies but for many years thought that western novels were of generally poor quality. It turned out I just hadn’t tried the right ones. These days a list of my favourite western novels and writers runs quite long but amongst them would be the work of the following authors for sure:

Thomas Eidson
Robert B. Parker
Elmore Leonard
Thomas Berger
Charles Portis
Edward Abbey
Larry McMurtry[/quote]

Recently read Portis’ True Grit, that is a witty, intelligently written novel. Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man is great. I started a McMurthy novel once, read 2-300 pages but had some other things on my mind and never finished the book. Never cared much for Parker and Leonard, second rate authors in my opinion. Not familiar with Eidson and Abbey. I’ve heard about Eidson, but don’t remember in which context. Did he write a novel that was adapted for the screen? The Missing maybe?

Edit:

Yes! (Remembered you mentioning him when we discussed the movie)


(Phil H) #10

[quote=“scherpschutter, post:9, topic:2944”]Recently read Portis’ True Grit, that is a witty, intelligently written novel. Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man is great. I started a McMurthy novel once, read 2-300 pages but had some other things on my mind and never finished the book. Never cared much for Parker and Leonard, second rate authors in my opinion. Not familiar with Eidson and Abbey. I’ve heard about Eidson, but don’t remember in which context. Did he write a novel that was adapted for the screen? The Missing maybe?

Edit:

Yes! (Remembered you mentioning him when we discussed the movie)[/quote]

Yep, Eidson wrote The Last Ride which was filmed as The Missing. Also St Agnes’ Stand and some others. All very good.

Abbey wrote The Brave Cowboy (amongst others) which is a modern day western (or was modern in the 1950s when it was written) about a cowboy who refuses to conform to the expectations of contemporary society. This was also filmed under the title Lonely Are the Brave.

Parker and Leonard are both excellent writers of genre fiction in my opinion. They both are well known for their crime writing of course and their ‘pared down’ style suits that genre very well but it also suits the western I believe. Parker’s Cole and Hitch series (Appaloosa etc) make for very entertaining reading and Leonard’s westerns are amongst his best work for me. He chose a small area of Arizona to set all his western fiction in and this concentration means he is able to give a real sense of place and character whilst still adhering to his commitment to an economical style. His short stories are also very good for the same reasons. Parker and Leonard are what I would call light reading in comparison to some of the others mentioned but are no less valuable for that. They are always tight and atmospheric and well written and that’s all I really ask for in genre fiction.


(Stanton) #11

Yes, they are very good, from both authors who used the pseudonym. Well written, and sometimes complex descriptions of human behaviour.

There are novels about range feuds which made me think I could understand what happened in ex-Yugoslavia.
Novels in which half of the book a group of people sits around a table and talk with another only to decide who will shoot at the end at whom.
In Geheimauftrag more of the defenders of the small trading fort die from the Cholera than from the Indians.
And many long descriptions of human suffering by e.g. crossing a desert.

And surprisingly only a few of the novels are only routine. And that by writing one per month.