HICKORY CURED by Douglas C. Jones


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Weedy Rough, the small town in Arkansas that first appeared in the novel by the same name, is the site of much of the action in this collection of short stories from the author of Roman (1986), etc. The stories are anecdotes and portraits of life in small-town Arkansas in the 1930's as seen by Shanks Caulder, a bright but otherwise thoroughly normal and well-adjusted boy who has grown to old age treasuring the memories of the characters and incidents that distinguished Weedy Rough and the county seat where Caulder went to high school. Like the towns and the times, the stories are dry, spare and unpretentious. In ""The Law,"" the old town constable has his revenge on the bullying hotel owners who let their Airedale defecate on the constable's lawn. ""In Once A Year,"" Caulder tells about the local sport of fox-racing (it consists of standing around drinking while your foxhounds chase after foxes) and about the most fox-like man around, a horrifying backwoodsman named Old Man Shearson. ""The Saga of Slaven Budd"" tells about how an illiterate boy--who can talk to dogs--fares in the US Army. ""The Last Fastball"" is a tale of baseball and the mess that is adolescent love. And ""Lilus Pront"" is a murderer who masters the penal system and survives to become a solid burgher. A deceptively simple collection. There are no literary flights, no deep psychological insights. But readers who stick with the stories will find that they have been to a teal place with real people.

Pub Date: July 2nd, 1987
Publisher: Henry Holt