Books by Linda Hussa

LIGE LANGSTON by Linda Hussa
Released: March 1, 1999

A rootin'-tootin' biography of a Nevada cowpoke. Call it the Horse Whisperer Syndrome: cowboys are in these days, and the more authentic the better. Lige Langston fits the bill; the scion of a Nevada ranching family, he's ridden the hardpan desert since 1908, and he has tales to tell on matters ranging from childhood schoolmarms ("My first teacher was Miss Barber and gee, she was swell") to gypsum mining ("I got a job runnin' the jackhammer. Two of us. A little Eye-talian guy. Vince, and me") to breaking horses ("Her and me ended up cuttin' his rope right in two, about six inches from the hondo"). Hussa, a California poet and rancher, has collected Langston's yarns in this patchwork volume, made up of her own biographical interpolations, other Nevada ranchers' memoirs of Langston, the homespun yarns themselves, and photographs, all mingled in a narrative (and typographic) jumble. The effect is sometimes of a family scrapbook, at other times of a postmodern hyperfiction; either way, it's not the most straightforward reading. Readers willing to brave the text will learn a thing or two about the cowboy life, and especially about how hard, dangerous, lonely, unlucrative, and unromantic the whole enterprise of livestock tending is; Langston's whisky-lubed tales are full of treacherous farm machinery, horses, and fellow wranglers. Those readers will also pick up a good store of cowboy vernacular (in which lambs are "little toe-dancers" and skittish horses are "goosey buggers") and a feel for the high-lonesome" the Nevada desert, America's outback. Readers of Max Brand and Louis L'Amour will thrill to this book, and students of Western folklore and literature will find much of interest here as well. (For the tale of a contemporary cowboy, see David McCumber, The Cowboy Way, p. 123) Read full book review >