Let Him Go by Larry Watson keeps me out west in North Dakota, 1951. This novel has more of a feel and read like Cormac McCarthy than Ivan Doig. It is a tale of grandparents, George and Margaret Blackledge, trying to recover their grandson. He has survived his father’s tragic and sudden death after falling of a horse. His mother has remarried and they have moved away to his family’s ranch. Margaret is the spark in this quest and George is there to support his wife. She is concerned about the family tree, the generation she has no influence on, and the reminder to her of her son.
Mother bears have their ways, as do men. This is the west in the 50’s, Montana specifically. One clan lives on one side of Montana and another clan lives on the other. One clan, the Weboys, have taken a grandson from the other, the Blackledges, and plans to raise him as their own. The Blackledges take action against the other clan, not popular and feared in their own community. It gets ugly and bloody. We all know how we as parents would behave and react. This is a typical dark Montana/North Dakota kind of tale.