Hurtling past the downtrodden communities of Depression-era America, painter Val Welch travels westward to the rural town of Dawes, Wyoming. Through a stroke of luck, he's landed a New Deal assignment to create a mural representing the region for their new Post Office. A wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives. One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road with a mission of tracking her down.
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.