My Book World
These fourteen stories, though set in the singular locale of Texas, are about the same things that noir is about in the other forty-nine states: avarice, greed, murder. Thus, making the collection rather universal. Divided into three parts—rural Texas, urban Texas, and Gulf-Coast Texas—each story brings to life those three qualities. Noir allows readers to experience this thrilling but illicit word vicariously so that we never ever have to commit such crimes ourselves. Title is part of the Akashic Noir Series.
These twenty-one stories written by Texans (either by birth or by successful transplantation) were published between the early 1940s and the mid-1950s. But many of them chronicle earlier times, calling to mind rural-agrarian, nineteenth century Texas, calling to mind Texas’s involvement in the Civil War and slavery. Editor Peery features some famous names: O. Henry, Katherine Anne Porter, J. Frank Dobie, and Fred Gipson. But he also includes many fine writers who do not possess that kind of fame. Margaret Cousins, for example, may write the best, non-sentimental Christmas story I’ve ever read. “Uncle Edgar and the Reluctant Saint” tells the tale of a little girl who almost doesn’t get to celebrate Christmas with her family due to her train getting stuck in a freakish Texas snow storm. Her curmudgeon of an uncle happens to be on the train, a man who detests marriage, Christmas, and almost everything else that is part of civilization. He manages to come through for her and everyone else on the train without changing his character too much. All the stories reveal diction and dialog that are no longer used (probably), sort of Huck Finn meets the Texas State Fair. Worth the time, especially if you are interested in Texas folklore.
TUES: A Writer's Wit | Marianne Wiggins
WEDS: A Writer's Wit | Carroll Quigley
THURS: A Writer's Wit | John P. Marquand
FRI: My Book World | Elizabeth Clark's Biography: My Exaggerated Life: Pat Conroy