Honey in the Horn
H. L. Davis
Introduction by Richard W. Etulain
Set in Oregon in the early years of the twentieth century, H. L. Davis’s Honey in the Horn chronicles the struggles faced by homesteaders as they attempted to settle down and eke out subsistence from a still-wild land. With sly humor and keenly observed detail, Davis pays homage to the indomitable character of Oregon’s restless people and dramatic landscapes without romanticizing or burnishing the myths.
Clay Calvert, an orphan, works as a hand on a sheep ranch until he stumbles into trouble and is forced to flee. Journeying throughout the state, from the lush coastal forests, to the Columbia Gorge, to the golden wheat fields east of the Cascades, he encounters a cast of characters as rich and diverse as the land, including a native Tunne boy and a beautiful girl named Luce.
Originally published in 1935, Honey in the Horn reveals as much about the prevailing attitudes and beliefs during H. L. Davis’s lifetime as it does about the earlier era in which it is set. It transcends the limitations of its time through the sheer power and beauty of Davis’s prose. Full of humor and humanity, Davis’s first novel displays a vast knowledge of Pacific Northwest history, lore, and landscape.
The only Oregon book that has ever won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this classic coming-of-age novel has been called the “Huckleberry Finn of the West.” With a new introduction by Richard W. Etulain, this important work from one of Oregon’s premier authors is once again available for a new generation.
About the author
H.L. DAVIS was a truly original Northwest voice. Born in southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley in 1894, Davis grew up in Antelope and The Dalles. He began his writing career as a poet, receiving the prestigious Levinson Prize at age twenty-five. With the encouragement of H. L. Mencken—who called Honey in the Horn the best first novel ever published in America—he turned to fiction, publishing five popular novels and many short stories and essays in the course of his career.
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"The style makes one think of a little of Bret Harte, much more of Mark Twain, and in its episodes, anecdotes, and exaggerations has more than a suggestion of Paul Bunyanism-- all touched up by Mr. Davis's puckish hand." - Christian Science Monitor