As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
Calvin Sidey all but abandoned his family after his wife died, not being able to handle his grief and raising small children. Retreating to a solitary life on the range putting in fence posts and herding cattle, Calvin is content with his life as a loner. Decades later his son David needs him. He asks Calvin to come to the house and watch his grandchildren while David takes his wife to Missoula for an operation. Calvin, surprising both himself and David, agrees. Calvin thinks babysitting a teen and tween is going to be easy, but Calvin is not one to sit idly by when he sees trouble brewing. The problem is that Calvin is a relic of the west and his way of fixing problems isn’t really acceptable in the modern age of the 1960s.
This book reminded me of a cross between Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name and Clint Eastwood in El Camino. Strangely enough the picture of the grandfather in my head was not of Mr. Eastwood but a character actor I can’t place no matter how hard I try. Calvin isn’t exactly likeable, but he is relatable. You get under his skin and understand his actions, as much as you may not agree with the ways he attempts to solve his problems.
After reading and listening to a few lyrically written, and lengthy, books it was a shock to the system to read the spare no-nonsense writing style of this author. Don’t get me wrong, this is great writing with some wonderful descriptions, but the author conveys Calvin, a man of very few words, even in the style and tone of the entire work. Western fans will find a modern tale worth reading in this one.