Moving story of two people: a fat, gentle, middle-aged man who runs a rural diner, and the young, plain girl who drifts into his life and remains to become part of it. Quietly, delicately, Gardner reveals what these two are to each other as the years pass, as they move through the universal rituals of courtship and marriage, the birth of a child, the loss of innocence, confession, atonement, forgiveness, the acceptance of death. The characters -- enormous Henry Soames, the girl he married, their son and all their friends -- are as plain and as memorable as the people encountered in one's childhood. Their story seems as roomy and filled with sunshine and fresh air as its Catskill Mountains setting. Yet cheerfulness, gentleness, affection are not all. Throughout the novel, Henry Soames' bad heart ticks, almost unheard, like a time bomb. Dangerous people come to Henry's diner just north of the looming Nickel Mountain. The darkness is there -- a darkness defeated again and again by courage, by love, by ritual, a darkness that still lies in wait, that is robbed of its triumph only by the man who has confronted the evil in his own heart and, supported by other people's love, has tamed it. Nickel Mountain is a love story, and also a kind of religious story. In direct progression from its author's previous novels -- and this time it is with simple means that he achieves his large effect -- it seeks to celebrate what is best in humanness, the gift by which in our best moments we counter cosmic indifference and disorder, the love all human beings can sometimes feel for all that lives.
This hardback book has nine etchings by Thomas O'Donohue. The book is in very good condition with mild corner and edge wear and a pencil mark on the inside page. States "Third Printing, December 1973." The dust cover has moderate wear and tear. ISBN 0394488830.