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. Elaine Showalter recently wondered whetherThe Mountain Lionwasn't simply the best American novel of the 1940s. Certainly this beautifully written novel about the death of innocence, with its two vulnerable and yet deeply appealing central characters and its gorgeous descriptions of the Rocky Mountains, is as gripping, offbeat, emotionally resonant, and plain heartbreaking today as when it first appeared more than half a century ago.
Author: Jean Stafford
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