Butcher's Crossing

Front Cover
New York Review of Books, 1960 - Fiction - 274 pages
14 Reviews
In his National Book Award–winning novel Augustus, John Williams uncovered the secrets of ancient Rome. With Butcher’s Crossing, his fiercely intelligent, beautifully written western, Williams dismantles the myths of modern America.

It is the 1870s, and Will Andrews, fired up by Emerson to seek “an original relation to nature,” drops out of Harvard and heads west. He washes up in Butcher’s Crossing, a small Kansas town on the outskirts of nowhere. Butcher’s Crossing is full of restless men looking for ways to make money and ways to waste it. Before long Andrews strikes up a friendship with one of them, a man who regales Andrews with tales of immense herds of buffalo, ready for the taking, hidden away in a beautiful valley deep in the Colorado Rockies. He convinces Andrews to join in an expedition to track the animals down. The journey out is grueling, but at the end is a place of paradisal richness. Once there, however, the three men abandon themselves to an orgy of slaughter, so caught up in killing buffalo that they lose all sense of time. Winter soon overtakes them: they are snowed in. Next spring, half-insane with cabin fever, cold, and hunger, they stagger back to Butcher’s Crossing to find a world as irremediably changed as they have been.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
7
4 stars
5
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stephengoldenberg - LibraryThing

I loved 'Stoner', John Williams' recently rediscovered classic novel, and I'm generally a fan of Western novels, so this has been on my 'to read' list for some time. For most of the book, it is like a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gregorybrown - LibraryThing

Another amazing book by John Williams, who I first encountered reading his much-buzzed-about Stoner. Butcher's Crossing is an earlier book, and a bit rougher for it. It's best experienced knowing ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1960)

John Williams (1922—1994) was born in Texas. He taught for many years at the University of Denver, where he was head of the creative writing program. Williams won the 1973 National Book Award in fiction for Augustus. His novel Stoner is also published as an NYRB Classic.

Michelle Latiolais is an associate professor of English at the UC Irvine. Her novel, Even Now, won a Gold Medal from the Commonwealth Club of California. She has recently published fiction and essays in The Antioch Review, Santa Monica Review, and ZYZZYVA.

Bibliographic information