Gatewood, Robert (Payne) 1974-
GATEWOOD, Robert (Payne) 1974-
PERSONAL: Born 1974. Education: College of the Holy Cross, B.A., 1995.
CAREER: Writer, ranch hand, and bartender.
SIDELIGHTS: The title of Robert Gatewood's debut novel, The Sound of the Trees, is taken from a poem by Robert Frost that includes the lines "I shall set forth for somewhere, / I shall make the reckless choice" and the story strongly relates to this theme. Set during the Great Depression of the 1930s, it is the story of eighteen-year-old Trude Mason, who takes his mother away from New Mexico and his abusive father and heads north on horseback. However, the journey brings its own troubles, and Trude becomes involved in trying to save Delilah, a black girl threatened with hanging after being convicted of only a minor offense.
New York Times Book Review contributor Will Blythe wrote that "despite—or because of—its dreamlike improbabilities (you sometimes feel a hint of Kafka in a cowboy hat here), the boy's quest is terribly suspenseful. And while Gatewood instills sentimental expectations in his readers, the story's trajectory is darkly, ferociously doomward."
A Publishers Weekly reviewer called The Sound of the Trees "an uncommonly good first novel, strongly evocative of Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses." School Library Journal's Lynn Nutwell agreed with this comparison, and described The Sound of the Trees as "a richly textured tableau threaded with mysticism and sustained by pitch-perfect dialogue laced with quiet dignity."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of TheSound of the Trees, p. 207.
New York Times Book Review, June 9, 2002, Will Blythe, review of The Sound of the Trees, pp. 13-14.
Publishers Weekly, March 4, 2002, review of TheSound of the Trees, p. 53.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, Lynn Nutwell, review of The Sound of the Trees, p. 256.*