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on March 9, 2016
Excellent read.
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on February 3, 2016
Buckler's characters are real, living a hard life and relating realistically to life's challenges. The book is poetically written, so don't expect a rapid read.
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on November 25, 2014
Good shipping etc, terrible boring novel.
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on September 26, 2014
I must say I can't agree with the 5-star ratings this book has been given, mainly because of the slow-moving story and belabouring of the many "asides" which the author makes. I had read up to page 80, and was almost ready to give up on it, when I read the amazon reviews, which convinced me to plow on. And plow on I did - the book is not an easy read. Many of the sentences are stilted - whether due to regional dialect or by-gone grammar is hard to say. Many times I had to re-read sentences or whole paragraphs in order to follow the thread of the author's thoughts. Having said that, I also felt compelled to re-read paragraphs for the beauty of the imagery or thought expressed.

Buckner is a thoughtful and lyrical writer, But, unfortunately, I would have preferred an edited version. I also became a little frustrated with the protagonist's taking every act and word so to heart. I felt that, had I known him personally, I'd have had to walk on eggshells, weighing every word before speaking. This became tiresome about halfway through the novel, and I lost some connectedness I felt with the protagonist.

I also felt that the other characters were not well drawn. I wanted to know more about the grandmother,Ellen, constantly weaving her rugs from discarded family clothing. I particularly like the imagery that act invoked.

In the version I read, Claude Bissell in his introduction called The Mountain and the Valley a psychological novel. I would have called it a character study instead. The author takes you inside David Canaan's head and all his hurts, real or imagined. He skillfully takes you through the times of David's life, from child to teen to man. The flow from one to the next seems seamless in Buckler's prose.

In the end, I was pleased to have finished the novel, but aain the very last chapter was too be-laboured for my liking. I want to say" Okay, Buckler, I get your point. Now move on!"

Although the novel has many merits, and has deservedly earned much critical acclaim, I'm not sure that I would recommend it except to the most serious reader.
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on December 18, 2011
This is an intriguing read, with sibling rivalry and domestic tensions. The actions and thoughts of a gifted boy and aspiring writer unfold with each page of this family saga, set in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Perhaps I am prejudiced in favor of local authors. Ernest Buckler is a master craftsman: the reader sees into the soul of Buckler's characters.
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on September 1, 2001
Buckler's book is tops. The story follows the life of an unpublished writer who must sacrifice his dreams to run the family farm. The prose reads like poetry, the images are breathtaking. It is so beautifully written it made me want to weep. In fact, I had to stop reading the novel for awhile and move to another book, then resume reading it about a week later. The novel is so dense, it reminded me of visiting catherals in Europe or gallery after gallery of museum masterpieces -- the senses can only absorb so much, before you are in overload and need a break. Perhaps that's why the author's body of work is sparse.
I am going to recommend this great read to friends. Although there is not much action, the emotions and thoughts of the characters are true and timeless. I must confess I did shed a tear or two at the end. Like a lot of great literature, The Mountain and The Valley is sad.
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on May 21, 2000
The Mountain and the Valley started out as a PERFECT look at growing up in a rural landscape. Buckler, through his careful choosing of his language, created an atmosphere of perfect beauty. The story is about one who is born with the soul of an artist, and Buckler transforms the novel into art to fit with that theme. I did say that it started out this way. Partway through the book, art begins to become at odds with the ruggedness of the rural landscape. This conflict begins to transform the beautiful book into something truely haunting and sometimes almost scary. Was the book ruined by this sudden shift? There will be mixed feelings about it. On one hand, the beauty of the perfection was ruined by it. But this is a real life book, not fantasy. On the other hand, there had to be pain. For artistic vision cannot go left unattained, even when living in an environment where it is not supposed to exist. Either way you take the shift of the books tone, it will leave you with a feeling that you have read a story that needed to be told so that you do not make the same mistake.
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on May 16, 2000
Ernest Buckler has captured a true reflection of the Canadian experience and spirit in The Mountain and the Valley. It is one of the most moving and compelling stories I've read, profound in its simplicity. A whole university course could be taught on its imagery alone.
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