When a reviewer cites beautiful prose, we all envision a jumped-up blogger in their pioneer-neighborhood apartment treating their cat(s) like offspring and partaking liberal amounts of recreational drugs. Beautiful prose? Are you kidding? Did the author describe, in detail, nearby flowers, the evening sky or how a character’s soul was touched during lovemaking? Bounder-dash!!! Well, the verdict is Robert Laxalt wrote some beautiful prose in Sweet Promised Land…and we all own dogs, so its legit!!!
The story is unassuming. Laxalt and his brothers assist their Dad, Dominique, on a return visit the mothership, the Basque country town of Tardets, after 47-boom & bust years as a shepherd in Nevada. You can forecast a lot of the book’s content early on, but you will not preempt the writing. Dominique’s chi, his humble stories and their impact on his life are treasures for the thoughtful bookworm. We all know that these experiences occur to a multitude of likewise stoics, who true to form, take them forgotten forever to their graves. However, in this instance we are in luck, because the stoic’s son happened to be a talented writer. FYI- Dominique also sired a Nevada Governor & Senator in Paul Laxalt, so there is successful immigration story here too. You can decide if it mirrors today’s challenges…we’ll be in New Zealand.
This is an understated, yet potent read. If you are under 40-years old and want to take up this book, you better be an old soul. Truthfully, if you are under 30 and still partying it up, you need not apply and eff you…you lucky bastard.