Five Skies

By Ron Carlson
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143113461, 256pp.)

Publication Date: April 29, 2008

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Spring/Summer '09 Reading Group List
“A random group of men are assembled to work on a mysterious building project in Southern Idaho. As the reader gets inside the heads of these men and realizes how each has been damaged by events in his past, it becomes obvious that lives are being reconstructed as well. This is a very good reading group choice.”
-- Sue Buschmann, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL


Description

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.

As they endeavor upon this simple, grand project, the three reveal themselves in cautiously resonant, profound ways. And in a voice of striking intimacy and grace, Carlson's novel reveals itself as a story of biblical, almost spiritual force. 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.




About the Author

Ron Carlson is the award-winning author of four story collections and four novels, most recently Five Skies. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, Playboy, and GQ, and has been featured on NPR’s This American Life and Selected Shorts as well as in Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. His novella, “Beanball,” was recently selected for Best American Mystery Stories. He is the director of the UC Irvine writing program and lives in Huntington Beach, California.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. Why has Ron Carlson titled the novel Five Skies? Why does Arthur Key tell Harry, when he asks what it's like in Idaho, "There's five skies, Harry. . . . There's five skies every day" (p. 236)?

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