And always in the background, there is the verdant Pacific forest, lush and moist, supporting all manner of wildlife and providing the raw material for human industry. There is the powerful river that carries fallen trees to the mill and also eats away at the shore, threatening to swallow up any houses built too close to water’s edge. There are the Canada geese honking overhead, fleeing the approach of winter by heading south for warmer climes.
If you want to lose yourself in a rich, engaging, multidimensional story, you could do a lot worse than Sometimes a Great Notion, Kesey’s epic second novel. Reading it has made me want to revisit his first and more famous work, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which I read a long time ago, and check out his later work as well.