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But not getting involved proves to be impossible as Key is drawn into the lives of Darwin and Ronnie—and brought closer to his own grief and guilt. Ronnie is running from the law, from a painful family life, and from his past as a petty shoplifter and unsuccessful thief. Darwin is haunted by the sudden and inconsolable death of his wife several years before. Each of them has been set adrift by a pain they are trying to escape. But in the shared pride of doing a job right, even if it is a bad job, they establish a kind of stoic intimacy and gradually reveal themselves to each other, a fact that in the end allows a kind of redemption—and makes its terribly high cost painfully clear.

I would need to tell of an entire summer and that would require a novel.

The opportunities in a novel are so different from those in a story. The world is larger and requires patience in every way. The changes accrue steadily and you have to live in them as the wear and the tear and the real lessons gather. It is such a different pleasure from those in writing the sharp surprises that appear in many stories. I loved being in the world with these men for that longer season. Characters like Key, Darwin, and Ronnie are becoming increasingly rare in American fiction.

Five Skies

What draws you to write about such men? I wanted these to be simple men, each hauling his life forward as well as he could. They have been reduced by their histories, and they are weary or incapable of subterfuge. What interests you about the kind of work you describe in the novel? Do you see parallels between the pride and care someone like Arthur Key takes in his work and your own work as a writer? But I did cut more than once. I like Arthur Key, his care, his understanding of materials and design, and his hesitance to be rash or hurried. Have you done the kind of work you describe so precisely in the novel?

Did you do much research for Five Skies? My father was a very fine craftsman and engineer, and I saw him every day admire the problems before him and approach them with the best design and the proper tools. We talked all the time about these things and he told me about the famous accidents in building design, bridges and hotel balconies. His drawings were beautiful.

I still have it. My two brothers and I are fairly handy, though they are better at such things than I. It is hard to talk, to build a sure story, something true that actually helps the current moment. We have things welded into our hearts that seem they will never open, and Arthur Key knows that he needs to tell his story; it is the only method forward.

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And he knows he will need new muscles to approach this important task. Art Key and Darwin Gallegos are pretty evocative names. How—and why—did you choose them? I started with them and there was no other choice. I did know a fine man named Darwin a long time ago. I consider them real names. I was not trying for anything symbolic, any more than all of our names are.


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Will you return to writing stories now or are you at work on another novel? I am finishing another novel right now. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books.

Five Skies - Ron Carlson - Google книги

Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview Beloved story writer Ron Carlson's first novel in thirty years, Five Skies is the story of three men gathered high in the Rocky Mountains for a construction project that is to last the summer. Having participated in a spectacular betrayal in Los Angeles, the giant, silent Arthur Key drifts into work as a carpenter in southern Idaho.

Here he is hired, along with the shiftless and charming Ronnie Panelli, to build a stunt ramp beside a cavernous void. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. About the Author Ron Carlson is the award-winning author of four story collections and four novels, most recently Five Skies. Henry Prize Stories.

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Read an Excerpt The first time Arthur Key saw the plateau at the far edge of the ranch called Rio Difficulto, he was lying in a sleeping bag in the frigid open air at dawn, or a little before it, in the deep gray light through which so many creatures jostled in the sage.

Show More. He is the director of the graduate fiction program at the University of California, Irvine. The two will be led by Darwin Gallegos, the foreman of the local ranch who is filled with a primeval rage at God, at man, at life. As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. A bellwether return from one of our greatest craftsmen, Five Skies is sure to be one of the most praised and cherished novels of the year.

Read An Excerpt. Paperback —. Add to Cart. Also by Ron Carlson.

Ron Carlson writes about men and work in "Five Skies."

Product Details. About Ron Carlson Ron Carlson is the award-winning author of four story collections and four novels, most recently Five Skies. Henry Prize Stories. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads.

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