Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson

The Able McLaughlins
by Margaret Wilson
1924 Pulitzer Prize
3 stars - worth reading

What an odd little book. I'm not sure whether to recommend this or not. I'll give it 3 stars with mixed feelings. Read on.

The pivotal moment of the story takes place so early in the book that I am loath to reveal more than the fact that the story is set in the mid-west in the 1860's and the main character is a young man who immigrated with his family from Scotland to setup farming.

The writing style is straightforward without detours into long descriptions of either setting or character. In fact the book only sketches even its principal character. And yet, I was drawn in. So much so that I swallowed the book in just a few days.

What recommends this book for me is that it made me think. It made me think, "what would I do?" "what should he do?" There is the added bonus that the ending was unexpected, yet very satisfying.

The dustcover is so discreet as to reveal next to nothing of the plot, so I am not alone in having difficulties in my attempts to describe the story. It is what it is. If you are keen to try something new, have at it. It won't take you long to read and it might give you pause to consider your own life, your own resentments, and how you choose to live in your heart. There, I've said enough.


  1. Sounds interesting. I love books about life around that time. I'll have to hunt for it.

  2. Have never heard of the author, but I've put it on The List, if I can find a copy.