Burning Ground, by D.A. Galloway
Yellowstone Sparkles In This Clever Time Slip
I have had my eye on this book. The spectacular landscape and the tiny bison on the cover, together with the book description, invited me to put this book on my to-be-read list and compelled me to bump it to the top.
Inside, landscape images add tremendously to the experience of reading the book. I have the book on my phone, and even though they are very small, these pictures are a wonderful enhancement to the facts and fiction. The author presents stunning color images on his website at dagalloway.com
Burning Ground opens in 1961, and we are introduced to the Davidson family, residents of south-central Pennsylvania. Over the course of about 100 pages, the family suffers a series of unbearable tragedies. We follow a child named Graham through a difficult decade as he experiences devastating losses and stifling guilt. He distracts himself by toiling to becoming an Eagle Scout and working during the summers at Big Hill Fruit Farm. Eventually, he attends Penn State, majoring in forestry, during the Vietnam War era.
At the fruit farm, Graham meets a Native American named Redfield, who drifted around the country through the years. Graham is intrigued by the mysterious man’s Crow ancestry, culture, and western homeland. When Graham gets the opportunity to work at Yellowstone in the summer of 1971, he won’t be dissuaded by a car that isn’t road-worthy or a father who doesn’t believe he should go.
Perhaps I should have been born a hundred years earlier because I was more than ready for the time slip when it came. I don’t want to spoil the story, but I loved the premise, the storytelling, and the surprise ending, though I must admit my ESP enabled me to foresee the ending.
The characters are well-formed, from protagonist to villains. At some points, I think the historical facts and background biographies of nonfictional characters, presented in italics as brief asides, interrupt the flow of the storytelling. I might have liked that better if it were presented after the end. Flora and fauna were employed masterfully and were another strong element in Burning Ground.
Yellowstone sparkles and gets star treatment in this book. I can’t imagine a more glorious setting. Congratulations to the author on an exceptional book.
I highly recommend Burning Ground by D.A. Galloway.