Harold L. Davis – Honey in the Horn

honey in the hornMy, my, my – how things have changed for us over the course of this journey. It is staggering to me to consider all that has happened along this long and winding road, I feel more apt to talk about this progress than this book. Harold L. Davis won the Pulitzer in 1936 for his pioneer novel Honey in the Horn. I don’t normally start out my posts like this, but I wanted to set the stage for what is going to be a lot of confusion and disinterest. One of the most interesting turns in the first half of this project was that this book, I believe was the last book for either one of us to find in the collecting phase of this journey. Which as we are both assessing the journey as we both approach the end is a funny thing that this not very great book was the last book both of us had to find. I believe I found my copy in Grand Rapids, MI perhaps, but I can’t remember specifically. It was a long time ago now which seems ridiculous to me. For this to be the pinnacle of our achievement in our search now that I have finished it is somewhat disconcerting to me. This feeling of disenfranchisement with this reality actually resonates with the ending of this book. The last paragraph of this book is easily one of the worst sequences I have ever read which was doubly disappointing as Davis had several sequences throughout this book that were fantastic, not breath-taking, but very well-worked workmanship. Davis isn’t a pretty writer, but there were times that the way he crafted his story worked out in some pretty ways. The way this story wraps up fit, and was true in its Western sensibilities as wasn’t all that unoriginal if only for forgiving its dated-ness. Regardless of that though, as I finished this book I realized much of how the main characters realize at the end of their stories, that this trail had an end which was actually a beginning and got up and walk into it with some chagrin at going on knowing what they should have always known and avoided knowing would have changed their paths considerably. There was something in the back of my mind while Drew and I were digging through boxes of old books in Des Moines, IA or the dozens of used bookstores we scoured throughout the Midwest and beyond, that this book as it was the last for me, and near the last for Drew, should be our favorite book in the whole collection. Turns out, it’s not, and now I look forward to finishing the last 11 I have to read with that new knowledge. Honestly, I really could not be bothered to remember many of the details of this work. Davis is a strong writer with not much to say. He is very descriptive, but without any anchor to tie you to anything important it is difficult at times to keep track of exactly what happening. It was worth reading, maybe for a few anecdotes that I will remember, but nothing more than that.

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