NEA Big Read
Five Skies

Five Skies

by Ron Carlson

Everything he'd put together for weeks was now loose in his heart and the pieces were sharp.


Ron Carlson (photo: Tracy Hall)

Ron Carlson "is one of the best-kept secrets in American letters," writes Bookmarks. "He's considered one of the best stylists working today, his name uttered along with those of Wallace Stegner, Thomas McGuane, Jim Harrison, Kent Haruf, and other writers who explore the terrain and unique spirit of the American West." A recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship and "master of the short story" (Booklist), his distinguished oeuvre includes five collections of short stories, six novels, two poetry collections, one work of nonfiction, and appearances in many "Best Of" anthologies. Five Skies is the story of three men working a doomed construction project in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho. "In such traditionally masculine genres as private eye mysteries, techno-thrillers ... and 'hard' science fiction, there is one common theme: Men at Work," writes Carlson fan Michael Dirda in The Washington Post. "If one invests any work—building a ramp or writing a novel—with sufficient attention, care and reverence, the result can be a kind of prayer." Writes Entertainment Weekly: "Ron Carlson's beautifully crafted and emotionally wrenching novel about nonverbal but deep-feeling males in flyover country is more refreshing than an ice-cold Coors."

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