How to survive on a Wyoming prairie during winter in 1870 after your dad shot your neigbour's dad? Review of " One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow"

Told from the perspective of four members of two neighbouring families this novel deals with the aftermath of the killing of the man of one family by the man of the other when he finds his wife and the neighbour having sex. With one father dead and the other in jail the wives and the eldest children are  forced to work together to survive the harsh winter the two farms becoming one.

The novel is very poetically written. And pictures the area in your mind.

 “Beyond the borders of the land that was his lay the wilderness that was its own. The upthrust stone, the shoulders of the Bighorns, reddish gray where they stood near to the homestead and blue where they stood far—bluer, dissipating veils of blue lost against an indistinct horizon. The pale gold of autumn grass like the rough hide of an animal, wind-riffled down the mountain’s flank. The low trough where the river ran, a score mark in wet clay—dark, shadow-and-green, redolent of moving water, of soil that never went dry. And the infinite sweep of the prairie, yellow shaded with folds of violet until, a hundred miles away or more, the whole plain was swallowed by color and consumed, taken up by the lower edge of a sagging purple sky.”

It also deals with death and how long the dead person influences the living. It is described very vividly by imagining the corpse decomposing and thus losing it's grip.

The title is a song:  “One for the blackbird, one for the crow, one for the cutworm, and one to grow.". One of the children sings it while sowing corn. I think it means that you should not only invest in your own but in the others as well because that is the way to succeed.  

Sometimes you hate it when a book ends. The funny thing is the author explained she was inspired by some of her ancestors who however did share the names with the people in the novel but could not have been any more different.




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