||"This is a hunting story in the tradition of Hemingway, Ruark and all the greats, and that's a dying genre. In this era of how-to, where-to, you don't see this kind of writing anymore. The story is authentic, and it's also irresistible."
— Bryan Hendricks, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"While reading Gordon Hutchinson's book, readers of my generation will recall the outdoor writing of their youth, when Outdoor Life carried Jack O' Connor, when Sports Afield carried Gene Hill and Russel Annabel. Those writers took you along with them."
— Humberto Fontova, best-selling author of The Helldiver's Rodeo and Fidel; Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant
"Southern gentility and charm are evaporating from our culture like dew in the glare of a rising sun. In The Quest and the Quarry, Gordon Hutchinson takes southerners back to their recent past, when family bonds always overcame the cruel whims of nature. Through the lens of a deer-hunting family, Hutchinson tells the tale of coming of age in the South."
— Todd Masson, Louisiana Sportsman magazine
“Gordon Hutchinson does what few authors can: take you back to a specific
memory, an exact place, a moment in time and help you relive it again with
the vividness of when it occurred. The clasp on a shoulder from an adult
signifying a job well done, laughter and a rough joke in deer camp after
supper, the growing up of boys to men in rituals handed down through
generations. Thank you, Gordon, for taking me to the Delta with your family
and to my own beginnings of deer hunting with my father all those years
— Alan Clemons, The Huntsville (Ala.) Times
“His descriptions of the behaviors of deer and horses are as good as James
Herriot’s animal tales. Non-hunting readers will be surprised by the
sympathy and respect the animals receive in Hutchinson’s stories. Hunters
— Greg Langley, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate
“I usually read the introduction and epilogue and a chapter or two of most
books I receive to get the feel for the book. That didn't happen with The
Quest and the Quarry. I couldn't put it down until I finished the entire
book; it was that good.”
— Glynn Harris, Ruston (La.) Daily Leader
I just finsished the book and all I can say is wow. This book reminded me of a great childhood I had growing in the Mississippi Delta just south of Lake Providence. I could picture the bottoms, the swamps, the cutover, the open vastness of the crop fields that remind me so much of where I grew up in this book. This book has given me the motivation and the desire to make sure my children experience everything that Gordon has made grand. I just wish there was another book in the works. Thanks Gordon for a book well written to the point that I thought I was there.
by Rusty Arledge
Mon Apr 24th, 2006 @ 11:11 pm
There aren’t too many “men” writers these days, and that’s disappointing. Anyone who has ever read The Sun Also Rises could never forget the emotional depths Hemingway painted when Jake and Bill shed the constraints of city life to fish together in the mountain streams of Pamplona. In that scene, Hemingway simply showed readers the honest cores of two regular men, but what emerged was one of the most graceful passages in all of classic literature.
Where Hemingway left off, Gordon Hutchinson continues in "The Quest and the Quarry." Two award-winning short stories form the basis of this novel, which brings readers into the life of a Mississippi farming and hunting family, and exposes them to the simple pleasures of camaraderie, family, and freedom from the constraints of city living.
The tale begins with a story of an old man’s quiet wisdom, elegant in its simplicity, decisive in its certainty. From there it expands, introducing readers to a Southern family and describing the family’s longstanding relationship with its farmland. The straightforward dignity of the lifestyle quickly entrances the reader, which is the ultimate purpose of the story. As the tale progresses, the family faces down joy and adversity in the backwoods. The men hunt, farm, and enjoy each other’s company in a uniquely male way. There’s drinking, card games, practical jokes—and true friendship. Meanwhile, the bonds between them—and between them and the reader—grow. It’s almost as though by bringing the reader along with the family, Hutchinson slowly permits the family to accept the reader.
And Hutchinson is a gifted storyteller. With an incisive eye for detail, he conveys all the little aspects of the hunt—from the bitter cold of hunting in the pre-dawn rain to the vivid tastes of the food made at camp—that are necessary for a reader to truly experience it. In so doing, he makes this story accessible to all readers; you need not have any hunting experience, or even like the idea of hunting, to appreciate his message. He changes perspectives at crucial points in the story, allowing it to evolve naturally while providing an overarching perspective of this family’s way of life. He writes with a light touch and a steady, patient rhythm that bespeaks the deep-set values embodied by the book’s family. His dialogue rings true and conveys a dialect that is at times hilarious, while at others, deeply touching. Further, he empathizes with all of his characters, showing an incredible ability to see from others’ perspectives, including—amazingly—that of the hunted deer. His tones are always well matched to the events taking place, easily shifting from mischievous, during moments of carefree revelry, to deep melancholy, as the central tragedies occur.
The dominant theme is simply the raw emotions men feel as they face the challenges of life, some self-imposed, others thrust upon them. Hutchinson expertly and honestly conveys these emotions. He seamlessly juxtaposes the thrill of the hunt and the deep, bitter regret of killing animals as majestic as deer. He captures outsiders’ desires for acceptance by an admired group. He also describes the deep longing to control one’s own destiny, as well as the concomitant joy when aspects of that control are wrenched from nature and society. Subtle is his expression of a simple yet powerful desire to be a good person—to conform to the example of one’s idol, and to properly love a woman—as well as the despair men experience when they fear that they are failing. Finally, he conveys an old man’s patient confidence that strong family bonds will always carry the day, able to heal even the deepest of wounds.
What emerges is exactly what Hutchinson aims for: the case for a simpler life, where the values of older generations survive in younger ones. Boys (and a girl) learn to lead a character-driven life by watching the men they admire simply be men. The sometimes cruel whims of nature temper men’s characters, while also cultivating bonds in ways that a more plush lifestyle simply cannot. Although many of us will never even begin to experience this reality, simply reading the book reminds us of the things we are missing, and perhaps the values we should strive for in our own ways. And although a very “male” book, "The Quest and the Quarry" has many female fans, who express gratitude at being given such an honest look at what happens when men let their guard down. In this time of “academic thrillers” and false memoirs, Hutchinson takes us back to an era of classic literature that has fallen by the wayside. I would recommend that anyone looking for a good nighttime read not hesitate for a second to order a copy. You’ll be all the better for it.
by John Kabealo
by John Kabealo
Tue Apr 4th, 2006 @ 11:44 pm
My sister, Cooky Browning gave me a copy of "The Quest And The Quarry" for Christmas. It looked interesting but when I get a chance to read it is always history. In fact I haven't read anything for entertainment for the past 20 years except history and primarily history of the Civil War and the Antibellum South. So when I saw this book I thought to myself, "I have thumbed through a hundred books that on the covery looked like just another hunting story." Yesterday Feb. 28th (Mardi Gras Day) my wife went in to the hospital to have some out patient surgery so I picked it up and took it with me knowing I would need something to do for several hours. After all, my sister did give it to me for Christmas and I figured some light reading just might help pass the time while in the waiting room.
Oh my goodness! Was I in for a treat or what? I bearly remember the doctor coming out and briefing me on how things went. And by the time I was taken back to the recovery room I had to be lead by the hand to keep from running into the doors and walls. I know the nurses must have thought I was crazy because one minute I would be laughing and the next I would have to swallow hard to keep back the tears. When it was time for my wife to be discharged I kept telling her just a few more minutes. She would wait a few minutes and then say, "Honey, I really would like to go home now." And I would reply,"Just one more page." Now that I look back on it, I was awful. But the book was terrific. I have never read a hunting article in any of the nationally known outdoor magazines that pulled me in as did "The Quest and the Quarry." I was there. I just could not put it down. When I was in college at LSU getting my degrees in engineering I read some of Hemmingways writings but I never felt this good when finished with one of his.
It is really a joy to know that one of the kids I went to high school with at Central has this kind of talent.
Thanks so much for the ride and the experiences. My big sister sure can pick em.
by Louis "Rusty" Chemin
by Louis Chemin
Tue Apr 4th, 2006 @ 11:42 pm