The energy of youth and intelligence and possibility thrum through these pages.

IN A NARROW GRAVE

ESSAYS ON TEXAS

A reissue of the 1968 volume of gently connected essays by the author of The Last Picture Show (1966) and myriad other notable works about the Southwest.

Surprisingly, McMurtry’s essays from a half-century ago possess enduring relevance. One of his themes is the end of the cowboy era and the exodus from the ranch to the city and suburbs. He writes at the outset that he wanted an elegiac tone, and he achieved it—witness his final clause in the book: “it can never be again.” Throughout, the author writes about the passing of the old ways: from the deaths of beloved older relatives (Texas was aswarm with McMurtrys) to the evanescence of the small towns to some of the depressing features he observes in Texas cities. San Antonio, he writes, is “the one truly lovely city in the state.” Younger readers may need to consult Google for some of the McMurtry’s references. An early essay, for example, deals with the filming of Hud (1963), based on his 1961 novel, Horseman, Pass By, and even the stars’ names, once iconic, have faded into history’s fog (except Paul Newman): Melvyn Douglas, Patricia Neal et al. It’s sometimes startling in these pages to read about the “new” presidency of Lyndon Johnson, the opening of the Astrodome, and other long-ago events. Occasionally, the 1968 McMurtry could be a little insensitive about how his words might sound 50 years later, as when, attending a fiddle event, he comments about how he saw no pretty women there—and he looked all day. These reservations aside, it is exciting to return to these essays and to hear McMurtry’s young, vibrant voice echoing throughout. One especially memorable essay records a drive he took around the entire state; through his eyes, we see the reality of his themes.

The energy of youth and intelligence and possibility thrum through these pages.

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63149-353-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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