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The Able McLaughlinsBuy The Able McLaughlins now from Amazon
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'The Able McLaughlins' is a 1923 novel by Margaret Wilson first published by Harper & Brothers. It won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1924.[http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Novel The Pulitzer Prizes, Novel, Winners]
It won the Harper Prize Novel Contest for 1922-23, the first time the prize was awarded.'New York Times': [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30817FE3E5416738DDDAB0894D1405B838EF1D3& "Books and Authors," September 2, 1923], accessed August 5, 2010'New York Times': [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=FB0D1FFA345C167B93C0AB1788D85F428385F9 "Books and Authors," March 22, 1936], accessed August 5, 2010
Wilson published a sequel, 'The Law and the McLaughlins', in 1936.'New York Times': [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F5091FFE3E59167B93C7AB178BD95F428385F9& Margaret Wallace, "More about those Able McLaughlins," October 25, 1936], accessed August 5, 2010
A pre-publication notice described it as "a story of pioneer life in Iowa in Civil War times" focused on "a family of Scotch Covenanters." Some reviews praised the novel but viewed its prize-winning status differently. Allan Nevins called it "remarkable for the unity of impression produced" and added that "the book would win rapid distinction if introduced without its blue ribbon." But the 'Boston Transcript's' reviewer wrote: "The book is so good as a first novel that it is impossible not to regret that it must always be judged as a prize novel." The 'New York Times' was less enthusiastic: "Miss Wilson does quite well with her characters, develops them by phrase and incident. In the mechanics of story-telling she appears less practiced; or, perhaps, more labored. The novel does not always run smoothly from one incident to the next."'The Book Review Digest', Vol. 104, Issue 4 (H.W. Wilson Company), 566, [http://books.google.com/books?id=DU3dgrR9eaIC&pg=PA566& available online], accessed August 8, 2010
'Book Review Digest' provided a summary:
:Wully McLaughlin, doughty but inarticulate young hero, returns form Grant's army to find that his sweetheart, Chirstie McNair, has fallen a victim, against her will, to the scapegrace of the community, Peter Keith. She has concealed her plight from every one [sic], but cannot conceal it from him. Wully grasps the situation with masterful promptness. He makes Peter leave under threat of death, marries Chirstie, and accepts the paternity of her child and the blame for its disgracefully early birth. Peter steals back to see the woman he violated, at a time when the anger of Wully and Chirstie against him has not lost a degree of its incandescence. Wully hunts him with a shotgun, but he has disappeared. Then, a few weeks later, Wully suddenly finds himand revenge and forgiveness are reconciled in Miss Wilson's last pages with surprising convincingness.
Contrasting with the dramatic story of Wully and Chirstie is that of her father and step-mother, Alex and Barbara, a comedic tale of a wife "who thinks she is coming from Scotland to a castle on the prairie, only to discover she is to have to live in a 'pig's sty' of a house."Clarence A. Andrews, 'A Literary History of Iowa' (University of Iowa Press, 1972), 36
In 1936, 'Time' called it "still her most noteworthy book."'Time': [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,756087,00.html "Letters," May 25, 1926], accessed August 9, 2010
Wilson's portrait this immigrant community has been cited for its folkloric detail, such as the story of Andy McFee, who removed his shoes when not actually walking until "an able grand-daughter-in-law urged him not to misuse shoestrings with such extravagance."Kenneth Wiggins Porter, "Thrift and Abstinence, 'Scotch' Stories," in 'The Journal of American Folklore', Vol. 63, No. 250 (Oct. - Dec., 1950), 467
Category:Pulitzer Prize for the Novel winning works
Category:Western (genre) novels
Category:American Civil War novels
Category:American historical novels
Category:Novels set in Iowa
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