The Trackers ends with the far-ranging Val back in Wyoming but fed up with 'the violence of the West' ... The book’s continental scope proves that the lavishly talented Charles Frazier is not just a regional novelist. The Trackers is a novel of suspense with an all-American sting.
Frazier deftly blends an historical perspective throughout his fictional tale. The legacy of the Great Depression and America’s efforts to advance beyond it are omnipresent ... There’s a lot more worth savoring in The Trackers, including reflections on the meaning of art, the mythos of the American West, and what it really takes to start again. But Val is our narrator and after a transcontinental adventure, the book satisfyingly ends where it began, with Val working on his mural in Dawes, Wyoming, adding a couple final details to complete the painting.
Charles Frazier conjures up the bleakness of the Depression, making strong parallels between that time and our own ... As an artist, Val doesn’t really come to life ... The historical aspect, however, is accurate ... It’s writing like this that carries the book along, not any sweeping plot nor interesting characters. When the reason for Eve’s escape is finally revealed, there’s no sense of surprise or satisfaction.
For a novel that traverses the country from Seattle to back-swamp Florida, the writing is curiously static, filled with meticulous descriptions and philosophical soliloquies, with all sorts of stilted conjecture about fate, art, and America (and no quotation marks). By the end, not even the characters seem to care much about who finds whom.
Diverting if muddled ... Unfortunately, the mélange of genres and a curious lack of romantic chemistry between Val and Eve (Frazier never establishes what Val sees in Eve besides her looks) drains the emotional power. There’s fun to be had, but it’s not Frazier’s best.