Louis L’Amour’s western adventure The Lonesome Gods is as irresistible as it is implausible.
When readers meet the novel’s hero, Johannes Verne is six years old. His dying father is taking him to California to his only other living relative.
Johannes remembers overhearing his parents say his grandfather hates him. Before he gets to California, he learns that his grandfather hates him enough to leave him to die alone in the desert.
Fortunately, good people take to Johannes instinctively. He’s nurtured by people who have common sense, extensive contacts, wide reading, and loyalty.
At 20, Johannes is a mid-twentieth century silver screen western hero plunked down in 1840s California.
L’Amour lets Johannes narrate the episodes in which he appears and an omniscient narrator relate the others. This technique gives an unwarranted aura of objectivity to implausible people and events.
There’s more than a whiff of Horatio Alger about The Lonesome Gods. Johannes’ friends impress on him the value of education, the importance of knowing how to do business regardless of one’s job, the need to have a goal for what he wants to become as well as for what he wants to do.
L’Amour’s story is forgettable; the advice in it worth remembering.
The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour
Bantam Books. 1983. 450 p.
1983 bestseller #10. My grade: B
©2019 Linda G. Aragoni