I’d been searching for my favourite book my whole life. As a lover of the classics, I was quite surprised when it came in the form of a dusty Western novel. In fact, I never understood my grandfather’s obsession with Western novels, I thought them to be a sheer gimmick of cowboys and Indians. However, when he got sick I decided to read one, possibly out of curiosity, but more likely a coping mechanism.
Louis Lamour’s Sackett’s Land is a story of one man’s quest to find a home. I expected to hate it, but I was enthralled from the opening page as it reached for every one of my emotions. The main character, William Tell, was a rogue cowboy, but like many sixteen-year-old boy, he just felt lost. William’s journey through the book is simply a journey towards a better future, something that was wildly relatable at the time as a Transition Year student whose shelves were lined with college prospectuses. I could immediately connect.
It often occurred to me that maybe my adoration was rooted in my grandfather’s love for the novel, however, as I moved seamlessly through the chapters I began to relate to the universal themes that could even reach a sixteen-year-old girl. The author; whose name is most commonly seen in the closing credits of his novel’s film adaptations, is a genius. His words jump off the page to paint colourful scenes of action and adventure in literary HD. I had never felt so exhilarated by print. I tore through the book. Devoured it. When I closed the back page, I felt a wave of disappointment which was an odd contrast to the usual feeling of accomplishment. It was the first novel that I mourned the loss of. I read it every year on my grandfather’s anniversary and I can always relate. There’s nothing quite like a novel that grows with you.