Louis L’amour

 

Sitka

 

Perhaps most interesting as a study in what L’amour defines as heroic and worthwhile. Sure, it’s meant to be larger than life and a page-turner, but the values probably left a more abiding impression for me than the ride. Nothing really surprising I suppose: an American hero can fight better than anyone else, turn pretty girls’ heads, and make lots of money – there is seen to be great virtue in being able to amass wealth: poverty is in a real sense disreputable.

 

I’ve only read a couple of L’amours that I recall, and both pick up on the closeness of Alaska to Russia. Our hearts are meant to surge with nationalistic pride at the visionaries who aim to win Alaska for America. One odd variation in the story is that the standard babe heroine (who is partly won by what would now be mere sexual harassment) is married to a respectable older gent, so our love interests must curb their passions until he has the grace to die.

 

Borderline – it’s not terrible, but there’s better average books around. At least it’s not an utterly colour by numbers Western – he’s tried to include a few different locations.

 

December 2004