The Kid

The Kid A marvelous journey into both history and imagination A perfectly compelling and fast paced story San Francisco Chronicle from Ron Hansen about an iconic American criminal of the old West legendary ou

  • Title: The Kid
  • Author: Ron Hansen
  • ISBN: 9781501129759
  • Page: 243
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A marvelous journey into both history and imagination A perfectly compelling and fast paced story San Francisco Chronicle from Ron Hansen about an iconic American criminal of the old West legendary outlaw, Billy the Kid.Born Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid was a diminutive, charming, blond haired young man who, growing up in New York, Kansas, and later New Mexico, demons A marvelous journey into both history and imagination A perfectly compelling and fast paced story San Francisco Chronicle from Ron Hansen about an iconic American criminal of the old West legendary outlaw, Billy the Kid.Born Henry McCarty, Billy the Kid was a diminutive, charming, blond haired young man who, growing up in New York, Kansas, and later New Mexico, demonstrated a precocious dexterity at firing six shooters with either hand a skill that both got him into and out of trouble and that turned him into an American legend of the old West He was smart, well spoken, attractive to both white and Mexican women, a good dancer, and a man with a nose for money, horses, and trouble His spree of crimes and murders has been immortalized in dime westerns, novels, and movies But the whole story of his short, epically violent life has never been told as it has been here The Kid s story has been told many times But not like this The New York Times Book Review In his incredible novel, Ron Hansen showcases his masterful research and inimitable style as he breathes life into history, bringing readers back into the late 1800s and into Billy s boyhood as a ranch hand just trying to wrest a fortune from an unforgiving landscape We are with Billy in every gunfight and horse theft and get to know him in full before his grand death in a hail of bullets in 1881 at the age of twenty one Original, powerful, and swiftly told, The Kid is an entertaining and lively an excellent, transportive read Publishers Weekly, starred review.

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      Published :2019-03-13T17:13:46+00:00

    One thought on “The Kid”

    1. Perhaps I should begin by saying that I've enjoyed Ron Hansen's books for more than three decades. It's impossible not to admire his versatility and the breadth of subject matter he has treated in his fiction, not to mention its consistent excellence. That said, my favorites have always been his two early novels of the Old West: DESPERADOES and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD. So when I heard he was returning to those roots with a novel about Billy the Kid, it put a li [...]

    2. Finished in one sitting. THE KID is a wonderfully written telling of the life of the man we all know as Billy The Kid. Hansen brings Henry McCarty's story to life with his magical sparse prose. You learn of his early years in New York City to his final days in New Mexico and America's Wild West. The hardships McCarty lived through over his short life (21 years) are spun into this story so you get an understanding what drove him to crime. The detailed research shows in Hansen's writing; the story [...]

    3. The Kid is a ficitonal telling of the life of Billy The Kid, and while it's author claims it is based on the true story of the infamous outlaw, it's still extremely entertaining and page-turning.Admittedly, as this is fiction based on fact, Hansen takes liberties with the dialogue, though he seems to have gathered much information from books written by sources who were directly linked with Billy, and he makes it work. It's funny, heartbreaking, and thoughtful, and I was surprised myself at how m [...]

    4. I don't, as a rule, read biographies of western gunslingers, nor would I deliberately seek out historical fiction where the characters wear cowboy boots in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Thank goodness for the Ron Hansen Exception. Hansen's lyricism and his fantastic ear for dialogue make every scene crackle, and he slowly, deftly turns Billy the Kid and the men and women in his orbit into living, wise-cracking, stumbling beings. Billy himself is the greatest achievement, being the center of it all, a [...]

    5. This was very, very dry. It did not read like a novel at all; it reads like creative nonfiction. As a novel, it's a pretty big failure. As creative nonfiction, it wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't mind-blowing. It lists people's names, places, events, in nonfiction-style detail, and the tone is just too matter-of-fact to be an exciting novel. Overall, it was very meh.

    6. Over the years Ron Hansen has been perhaps my favorite contemporary writer, and as far as I know, I’ve been a loyal reader, having read every published book he’s written. Even met him years ago in Atlanta, had the opportunity to chat briefly with him that evening. The thing about being so familiar with another writer’s work: The other’s writing - both the good and the bad - becomes glaringly obvious.Hansen’s work has been largely historical fiction, from other legendary western heroes [...]

    7. This is the epitome of historical fiction. As nearly as I can determine from doing a little research after reading the book, almost all the significant events related actually happened, and the characters are for the most part real, and accurately portrayed. Mr. Hansen seamlessly adds in the details and invents dialog which, while obviously not real, certainly could have been. True, he has shaded things in favor of portraying Billy in a more favorable light, and more sophisticated, than was prob [...]

    8. Difficult to read and disappointing as a story, I do not recommend this book. There is a long cast of characters, none of which is developed so that you never know who is who and what side they're on. Hansen's writing style switches from normal prose to some fictional western vernacular, sometimes in a paragraph, so that reading is difficult. Finally, Billy the Kid is cardboard and just a set of dialogue lines. I want to read another book about him to find out what made him the legend he is.

    9. The Kid is William Henry McCarty, aka William Bonney, aka Billy the Kid. The novel is loaded with so many characters, I had a hard time keeping track of them all. This despite the four pages of “Major Characters” that precede the narrative. This is really the story of the old west of the 1870-80’s with the cowboys, cattle rustlers, gun-slingers, back-stabbers, vigilante mobs, etc. The research is absolutely amazing but the telling felt dry to me.

    10. It was an interesting story, the first complete account of Billy the Kid I've read. I'm not, however, a big fan of Hansen's writing. He's glib, almost winking a you sometimes as he cracks another stale joke or cliche. His dialogue has been praised here, but I found much of it unnecessary and included only so the author could show how clever he is (Or thinks he is).

    11. This is kind of a return by Ron Hansen to what first drew me to his writing, in his historical fiction about Jesse James (The Assassination of Jesse James) and about the Dalton Gang (Desperadoes). I was really happy to see this one in the upcoming fiction lists.Billy the Kid is mythological, like other old west figures. Hansen doesn’t completely de-mythologize him, but he does bring him down to earth a bit. This kind of fiction does that, maybe a bit ironically, given that it is fiction, takin [...]

    12. There has been so much written about Billy the Kid, fiction and fact, that Ron Hansen's novel of last year doesn't seem at first to be necessary. But, along with Mary Doria Russell's Epitaph, there seems to be a trend lately to write historical fiction that is close to accurate, and that The Kid is. For Western fans, there's not much new here, but it was a pleasure to read.One of the things I enjoy about Westerns, both in print and on film, is the style of putting grandiloquent language in cowpo [...]

    13. While reading James Lee Burke's latest book, Robicheaux, the central character mentioned he was reading this book and it was the best book on Billy the Kid he had ever read. I admire the writing of Burke very much, so taking that as his endorsement i checked it out.It is gook but i rate it only as ok. It is a novel based on true fact as well as the author can establish it. It is readable and enjoyable but the writer takes too much time telling the full name of every character who appears in the [...]

    14. THE KID. (2017). Ron Hansen. **.My first impression of this novel about Billy the Kid was that the author was using the telephone directory of Manhattan as his character reference guide. I am glad that most of the action was set in Lincoln, New Mexico, whose population was a little more manageable. Still, when you take into account all of the outsiders that got involved with the Kid, the list of characters was way too long. The book presented Billy as more of an on-looker than as the star of his [...]

    15. So boring!I am a huge fan of Billy the Kid, and this read like either a watered-down nonfiction book, or a watered-down novel.Hansen seemed to find it important to include every bit of history he learned about The Kid. And everything felt like it was being told about a past event (duh, I know, it IS a past event). But I want to LIVE it. I want to be right there in Billy's shoes and know what he is thinking about.I flipped around a bit to when things actually start happening, like when he met Tun [...]

    16. Hansen weaves a tight historical narrative with imagined scenes and conversations to explore the central question: who was this kid that remains a part of the American myth? (He was a kid.) To his credit, Hansen neither romanticizes not crucifies. What emerges through a mess of great writing and research is an enigma: can a sweet boy be vicious and vice versa? Wisely, Hansen allows the reader to decide after making a strong case for either verdict. The final sentence does indeed sum it up and th [...]

    17. I enjoy reading about the American West, circa late 1800's, and so this title was of interest to me.For the historical part of this historical fiction work, I thought the author did a pretty good job citing various well-known figures and how they came to be prominent in our Western history, and their eventual fates. As to the fictional portions, such as the dialogue between "the Kid" and his various contacts throughout the book, they were rather entertaining, and the author painted Billy in a pr [...]

    18. The Kid by Ron HansenRon Hansen is the esteemed author of classics like "Desperadoes" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Howard", both of which loom over western historical fiction like brilliant full moons. These novels are set in motion by history, but overtaken by an artistic sensibility that limns each book with both menace and delight. Each book lodges in the memory of the reader.By contrast, "The Kid" is a facile work, emotionless, slapdash and haphazardly construct [...]

    19. I thought I could listen to this book and enjoy it more than I would if I was reading it. I tried reading the author's book about Jesse James a few years ago and just couldn't get very far. Listening was almost as difficult. Both books read very much like textbooks, with way too many details to keep track of. I was also thrown off by the title saying it was a novel. How much was based on letters and other records? It seemed that everything was factual based on how it was written like a text book [...]

    20. Imaginative re-creation of William Bonney's life. Though at first I was a bit put off by the brief summaries of people's lives as they exited the story because they interrupted the narrative flow, I eventually came to enjoy them. Having read all but two of Hansen's books (Hitler's Niece and Isn't It Romantic?), I appreciate the breadth of subject matter that he explores and have enjoyed all of them. That said, my favorites are Desperadoes and Exiles. I know the Jesse James book is generally cons [...]

    21. I’ve been fascinated by Billy the Kid since I was 12, but I couldn’t finish this book. The book plods along with a lot of detail about locations and characters. In many ways, the plot takes a back seat to describing the characters—which include the main actors as well as all the people Billy encounters through his short life. OK, I thought, a historical nonfiction work needs to do this. It needs to establish where the information came from and who knew what and when, so it can give us a fu [...]

    22. The Kid is a disappointing return for Hansen to the western themes with which he first came to the reading public’s notice with Desperadoes and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. It’s disappointing not because he returned to it, but because he does so without much discernible success. The story is familiar, the setting is familiar, the motives and backstory of the characters familiar. Even so, there can sometimes be success in the telling of a familiar tale told if i [...]

    23. It took me a while to warm up to this, but I'm glad I stuck with it.I've been a Ron Hansen fan since stumbling on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford back in the early 1980s.This shares a similar amount of historical background with imaginative narration.

    24. Entrancing fictional biography that makes one feel alive in the Southwest of the last part of the 19th century. Surprisingly sympathetic to a much maligned character, known more for what deeds he didn't do than the realities of his life. As entertaining as any exceptional western.

    25. Enjoyed Hansen's color commentary of the life of Billy the Kid. He took me well beyond the scope of what a reporter or chronicler would do and made the harshness of life in the old west visceral as well as physical.

    26. I enjoyed the hell out of this. Hansen gives us a totally irresistible Billy the Kid - witty, handsome, two handed shooter, rapscallion and romancer. New Mexico. The Billy we'd all like to be.

    27. This was a good read (no pun intended!) but I inevitably found myself comparing it to THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD which I enjoyed more. Perhaps because I kept relating the two, and I really enjoyed JESSE JAMES, THE KID never really had a chance. My own personal bias. This is not to say this wasn't a good book. Excellent writing (as usual from Hansen), with vivid description, I again (as I have in his other books) felt like I was transported to the past. Solid book [...]

    28. The characters ring true, and the dialogue is refreshing and often hilarious. It may be the best book available to explain how Billy came into his fame, with the combination of his great marksmanship skill, a winning personality, and the circumstances of the Lincoln Land Wars. It is probably the most entertaining. I sometimes forgot that maybe Billy was a psychopath, and I guess that may be part of the point Hansen is trying to make. Would he have been a different person with different parents, [...]

    29. A fact-based fictional account of the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid is an interesting book by a noted Western writer. Some of the accounts are based on historical facts and personages, while other accounts, notably dialog and action are likely fictional. Still, the book follows the outlines of Billy's life from his birth in Brooklyn to he and his family's move to the west and his becoming an orphan at 14. The story follows the broad belief that the Kid was a victim of life's circumstances and o [...]

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