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Two kids growing up in a genteel suburb of Los Angeles, Ralph and his younger sister, Molly, are independent-minded and highly imaginative and more than a little wild. They have no patience with the evasive politeness and mincing words of their mother and older sisters, so they’re delighted when they’re sent for the summer to the Colorado mountain ranch of their uncle Claude. Initially the children feel liberated by this encounter with nature at its most ruggedly spectacular and demanding. Soon, however, Ralph begins to sense, not without anxiety, the call and challenge of impending manhood, while Molly, for her part, burns both with the ambition of becoming a writer and the fear of being left behind in childhood. Neither suspects that tragedy may be the cost of coming of age.
“…one of the best novels about adolescence in American literature.” -Guy Davenport, The New York Times
“…remains a brilliant achievement, an exploration of adolescence to set beside Carson McCullers’s masterwork The Member of the Wedding.” -Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Review of Books
“Hard to match for subtlety and understanding...A sharply focused study rather than a broad exploration of adolescence, written wittily, lucidly, and with great respect for the resources of the language.” -The New Yorker