Read Faraway Places by Tom Spanbauer Online


During a fateful summer, 13-year-old Jake Weber witnesses the brutal murder of a Native American woman by the town banker. Jake's parents forbid him to speak of the killing or name its perpetrator, even as the woman's African American lover stands falsely accused. The crime and what follows it forever alter Jake's view of his parents and the world around him. Faraway PlaceDuring a fateful summer, 13-year-old Jake Weber witnesses the brutal murder of a Native American woman by the town banker. Jake's parents forbid him to speak of the killing or name its perpetrator, even as the woman's African American lover stands falsely accused. The crime and what follows it forever alter Jake's view of his parents and the world around him. Faraway Places won widespread praise for its vivid narrative and incantatory style, and Spanbauer displays singular skill in inhabiting the mind of a troubled adolescent boy....

Title : Faraway Places
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060975524
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 124 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Faraway Places Reviews

  • Albert Trajstman
    2019-04-17 00:36

    Have just finished Tom Spanbauer’s Faraway Places and loved it. If To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic then so should Faraway Places be one. The cover calls it ‘A Novel’ but in fact it’s really a novella and no worse for that. The length of this tale is just right and the pacing appropriate. I enjoyed the way Spanbauer introduces a passage in the text that leaves you wondering what is that all about and then he later expands on that very same passage deeper in the story with the reveal. Hard to believe that this was his first bit of published extended fiction as it’s written with such a deft hand. For me, though they explore similar themes – growing up, race relations, and parents - Faraway Places works much better than To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s really a most delightful read!

  • Mmars
    2019-04-04 02:32

    Sometimes one hundred pages passes in no time at all, and sometimes they seem to take an eternity. This novella by Spanbauer is of the former, a sort of prairie gothic. And once you begin you cannot stop. It’s a bit formulaic and there are typical first novel giveaways such as blatant foreshadowing and the description of the farm layout (which by the way is astoundingly good) seems lifted from a gifted writer’s exercise book. Perhaps, as a child growing up on the edge of prairie I could just relate to cottonwoods and the edge of the open prairie. Standing on the top of the hill leading to his family’s farm (I knew one of those hills and we called it “the end of the world”) he describes what he sees.“There was sky everywhere: outside the windows, under the beds, between the ceiling and the floor there was sky. There was sky between your fingers when you spread them, and sky under your arms when you lifted them up….Besides the sky and the graveled road and the fence with the red triangles hanging on it, and the power lines, and the fence on the other side of the road, this is what you could see from the second flag up there on the plateau: you could see the road, straight as an arrow….”He goes on (and I’m skipping really important stuff) and gets to the house farmplace. “…you could see Virginia creeper on the side of the house, and the horses and the Holsteins in the corral, and the gas pump…and in the yard the machinery parked around: the tractor, the plow, the disc, the harrow, and all those things, all of them John Deere.”If you had grown up on a Midwest farm in the 50s/60s you would know you could classify farmers by the color or their machinery. Red Farmall farmers were Republicans, yellow International Harversters, the independents, and John Deere green stood for Democrats. Well, politics doesn’t really play into this book, but this did indicate that the author knew what he was writing. This book is about the omen of a Chinook wind and what it wrought. It’s not pretty and there are a couple perverse scenes and one must stretch believability at times, but it is well told. A first books that shows lots of promise.

  • Tianna Tagami
    2019-04-16 03:39

    Starts slow. Finishes strong.

  • Taru Luojola
    2019-04-20 07:33

    Kaunistelematon ja tiivis aikuistumiskertomus Yhdysvaltain takapajulasta 1950-luvulta. Ongelmat ja ratkaisut niihin ovat niitä samoja, joita 1950-luvun Yhdysvaltain kuvauksissa on totuttu näkemään, mutta Spanbauer nostaa selittelemättömään tyyliin esiin yksityiskohtia, jotka vievät tämän tarinan ihon alle.

  • Joseph Longo
    2019-04-10 07:26

    Since I read "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon, I became a fan of Tom Spanbauer. This advocate and teacher of Dangerous Writing has a unique style and take on how to tell a story, especially a coming-of-age story. This short novel, only 102 pages, deals with the murder of an Indian woman in an isolated, poor farming community. The murder was committed by a white man who set his pack of five dogs on her and the black/Indian man that she lived with. The story is told in the first person by a young boy who witnessed the murder and concerns how he, his devotedly Catholic mother and violent, alcoholic father deal with the crime. The boy also has short encounters with the negro/Indian that escaped."Faraway Places" is not as good as "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon," but it is worth the short time spent on it. And if you haven't read "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon," you have to put that novel on your must-read list. Briefly, it is about a bi-sexual Indian boy growing up in a whore house run by a strong, loving white woman. It takes place in the Old West at start of the last century. Great characters. Involving, with unique relationships and situations.

  • Karen
    2019-04-21 08:25

    I don't know that my review has any spoilers; but a friend is reading this.I had to read this in high school; for that reason, I've always chalked up Faraway Places as one of those books that teachers make you read to prove that the world can be a nasty place. It's not the kind of book I would pick up, if left to my own devices. And it didn't move me in any way--though it is a potent book. All I remember are several ugly moments and one beautiful moment.I remember Tom Spanbauer actually came to our high school class to discuss the book with us. At the time, I don't think our class appreciated his visit as we should have. I mean, now I think that's pretty awesome. Wish I had felt that way back then! We were kind of intimidated by him, I guess. Plus, it's no easy thing to talk with an author if you don't like or don't get his work.Though this book didn't work for me, I have come to respect Spanbauer.

  • Sandra Mello
    2019-04-04 03:36

    Sparse and intense. LOVED it!

  • Liza
    2019-03-29 02:10

    Someone I really respect recommended this author to me. I was looking to read In the City of Shy Hunters, but wound up picking up The Man Who Fell In Love With the Moon and this book. It took me a while to get through the other novel, but this book read like taking a shot of whiskey. It is all the things I found in Man Who..., but sharpened, distilled, and condensed. It is a super quick read, but chalk full of serious thematic material like racism, family conflict, the danger of secrets, and other such taboo topics.It is basically a coming-of-age story of the teenaged protagonist. His family lives through a strife-filled year or so. The narrator's name doesn't come up in the story much; it is pretty downplayed, which gives that "everyman" universal sense to the story. It could be any of us readers in his place.The blurb for this novel simplifes the storyline and leaves the intricacies and details of what unfolds to be discovered. There are some very graphic elements in the story, but they do not overpower the narrative. Actually, the narrative is characterized by verisimilitude, I would say. The narrative unfolds the way that a person would orally tell a story, complete with tangents, off-shoots, and the circular way of coming back to where the narrator left off.I enjoyed and was impressed with this novel, especially because of its relative brevity (just over a hundred pages or so) and the fact that it was Spanbauer's first. To me this story is reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, but, of course, it is its own story and a valuable one at that. Another thing I found especially valuable about this edition is the introductory elements, including a letter by Spanbauer that gives some context and depth to the writing of this novella.

  • Ron
    2019-03-21 06:32

    This book is for just about any only child growing up in the 1950s on a small farm in the middle of nowhere. It captures the inner world of a boy entering adolescence, with a strong religious upbringing, no extended family or friends, four miles from the road to town, with nothing but a drying-up river running nearby and flat land in all directions. Jacob, the central character of this short novel, spends his days alone with his wondering mind and vivid imagination, poised between his dreamy mother and his rough father. As if to fill the void of the family's routine, isolated existence, in which a trip to the Idaho state fair is a highlight of the year, an intense and violent melodrama unfolds around them and draws them all into its vortex.The title is from a Perry Como recording of the period, and that softly romantic song and singer represent the untroubled surface of a time marked also by McCarthyism, racism, and social hypocrisy. Spanbauer pulls out all the stops as his young hero discovers both the fierce ugliness and the hidden beauty beneath his schoolboy illusions. In the end, after bloody fistfights, hard drinking, domestic abuse, bestiality, killings, a lynching, and arson, a very different song, the Ventures' rock and roll classic "Walk, Don't Run" is playing loudly on a car radio. Finally, the reader is left to wonder how much this coming-of-age story is itself an illusion filling the fevered imagination of a lonely farm boy. I recommend this one for anyone who believes that nothing is what it seems to be.

  • Redd Deveraux
    2019-04-01 06:31

    This book is remarkable. It tends to get marked down a bit, being Spanbauer's first book, starting off with a lot of imagery-laden scene setting, and, sure, it's not as massive and expansive as his following novels--Now is the Hour is like Faraway Places exploded and stretched out; just as good, exploring more deeply the themes set up in the novella--but Faraway Places is still a real whirlwind of a story. Tom's masterful in how he lays all his cards on the table from the start, informing you who will die, how things will change, and then he takes you through all of it without boring you, making you forget what you already know. His language just gives me the chills. His sentences glow. The prose is forked and lyrical. I love the way he reuses description in different ways to set up choruses that build and shift. And the characters, they're vivid. Even Jake's hardass, racist father ends up tugging at your heart, something that doesn't happen as strongly in the aforementioned Now is the Hour.Coming of age when you don't know how to, the tradition of religious faith becoming hard to swallow, the ugliness of America's past, the beauty of the natural world in contrast to the frequent cruelty of people. I can't even do it justice, trying to name themes, sum it up. It's just a really well-written, well-crafted story that'll surprise you with almost more emotion than one can take if you read to the end.

  • katemfs
    2019-04-09 04:28

    What I like about Tom Spanbauer's writing: It’s less about disassociating from myself as a reader and more about going deeper into myself. By looking out at the world as [the narrator] Jake for a while, I notice different things. I feel like the characters live inside of myself and my experience as a reader is about tapping into my inner [character name] rather than looking in on them from the outside. That is SO RICH, and what I really seek by reading fiction. This is a great, quick read. It's a great place to start for someone wondering if they might be curious to read more of his work -- which tends to be longer and a much more significant investment (400+ pages). Although it's his first book published (chronologically), it's the last of his work that I've read. It stands on its own two legs, though IMO, it can't be fairly compared to the opus that is The Man Who Fell In Love with The Moon.

  • Tze-Wen
    2019-04-13 02:27

    I got as far as page 55 (of 102!!) and then I gave up. I thought it was a terrible bore. The kid protagonist's narrative skips from point A to B and is repetitive to boot. I'm sure the story's setting is sometime when the n-word was still common in use, but it grated on my nerves. Just as "injun" (Indian). The boy's mother is terribly superstitious and God-fearing. His father is an old-fashioned man. I had hoped there'd be some character development or suspense at the least, but that was too much to wish for. You find out pretty soon that "Harold P. Endicott" killed the "injun" woman Sugar Babe, who shares a lean-to with "the nigger", and that the boy is supposed to keep his mouth shut about it. I just could not be bothered to find out what'd happen next.

  • Lauren
    2019-04-11 02:22

    This is Tom Spanbauer's first book and they have just re-released it with a new intro by him. I'm not sure if giving it a new cover and a new introduction is worth spending the $15 all over again but since I'm a totally sucker for Spanbauer I couldn't help myself. And if any Portlanders are interested he is doing a reading a Powells on Wed. April 23rd. And for those of you who decided it was a good idea to leave Portland (ahem, Five) then you have to miss the most wonderful Tom Spanbauer doing his reading. Although, I do have to say I did see him do a reading once and it was kind of a let down.

  • Julene
    2019-04-19 05:26

    This book is Tom's first book he wrote in 1988 when he was dirt poor living on East 5th Street. It confronts the racism of his home town and his life. It is an intense book, as all his books tend to be. It was just reissued with a preface and a foreward and when it is reissued will have another preface. He was in Seattle to read from his reissue and read the new preface. He did not change the book at all, it is a child in the world and stands as he wrote it, including the word nigger. The preface he read at the reading addresses the use of this word. An audience member referred to Mark Twain and Nigger Jim in the discussion after the reading.

  • Ruby
    2019-04-17 05:24

    The main character of Faraway Places is the farm that Jacob lives on and its surroundings. Stingy with dialogue, containing only a precious few characters, this small book is a tribute to the land Spanbauer must have hailed from to be able to reproduce it so precisely. The themes of racism, abuse, and addiction that continue in his later work sprout here. Its poetry and complexity presage his later works.

  • Scott
    2019-03-23 03:24

    Well, I have finally read all of Spanbauer's books and I am able to see some concurrent themes across his works - Catholicism, overbearing and brutish father archetypes, odd pious mothers, indigenous love affairs, etc...This novella starts out quaint and descriptive, building up to an accidental crime-scene that rips the family apart, and yet brings them back together in a new and improved format. Disturbing and gripping. Spanbauer has an amazing love and use of the English language.

  • Todd
    2019-04-08 03:33

    I love Tom Spanbauer. I think he's my favorite writer.This book is little, some might even spurn sensitivity to claim it's imperfect. I found it immensely satisfying, and very fine.I read it back to back with Neon Bible - another astonishing first novel, and found both books had similar achievements. Foremost among these for Tom is a great vision that makes for some fine storytelling, and a delightful voice that makes almost anyone feel related.I loved this book.

  • P.
    2019-04-18 08:28

    Small but not spare - Jacob John Weber focuses in on a summer where things change and goes over and over it. He has the observational powers that come when you spend a lot of time in your interior and when you live with a father who rules the mood and actions of the whole house and family. Good thing because with this observation he manages to find beautiful moments in a largely ugly world.

  • Julie
    2019-04-10 07:23

    In 1950s Idaho, 13-year-old Jake Weber witnesses the brutal murder of a Native American woman by the town banker. Jake's parents forbid him to speak of the killing or name the perpetrator, even as the woman's lover is falsely accused. The crime and its horrible aftermath alter Jake's view of his parents and the world around him. Very poignant and well-written.

  • Tom
    2019-04-14 02:32

    Not as good as I had hoped. Good writing, but it read more like a therapeutic literary exorcism of some personal childhood demons - mom and pop and the fat guy down the road, that is. At only 80-some mysteriously numbered pages - the novel actually starts on page 21 after a short introductory essay by A. M. Homes - it's not a great value. Plus I was hoping for more gay stuff!

  • Kat Masek
    2019-03-29 01:28

    Profound and beautifully written. Haunting. On the basis of the three of his five novels I've read, Tom Spanbauer is one of my favorite writers. I only have "In the City of Shy Hunters" and "I Loved You More" left to read now. I think I'll leave the latter, his most recent, for last. What a writer, and what a soul.

  • Andrea
    2019-04-14 01:23

    The themes and the cleanliness of the prose, the repetition and the re-emergence of objects, the same way thoughts have a way of reappearing will leave this book with me long after I've closed the cover. Love it.

  • Beth
    2019-03-23 02:15

    The good thing about this book is that it's 124 pages. The bad thing is that the author took a 50 page story and dragged it out. The author also kept repeating things, and it just felt discombobulated.

  • F.J. Commelin
    2019-04-16 00:40

    spellbinding in his story-telling.unsettling your world with his story which goes under the skin and where the life of a boy is changed and all those around him when the wind blows from the wrong direction and he is witness of a brutal murder.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-25 05:29

    Although I thought this might have worked better as a short story, I liked how Spanbauer feeds you the story thread by thread. The characterizations of the young boy and his family are the most in-depth (especially his mother). Though, this is definitely a harsh, violent coming of age story.

  • Shem Malone
    2019-03-23 01:12

    Idaho is a scary, evil place. There are evil landowners. There are racist police. There are dogs that lick in, well, faraway places.

  • Alison
    2019-04-19 06:31

    This is a good little novella, and it's protagonist is a proto version of William of Heaven, the much more developed protagonist of "The City of Shy Hunters."

  • Jason Longchamps
    2019-04-14 05:27

    Best I've read this year. Only 80 pages, it's incredibly tight.

  • Kristine
    2019-04-05 00:40

    Spoiler alert: Awesome, awesome book. A very harrowing tale, although I'm still confused by the ending. Who killed Geronimo?

  • Meagan
    2019-04-09 01:27

    I probably should like this book more than I did.