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His name was Johnny, a man with a forgotten last name and he is the folk-prototype of the American wanderer-- ""the story of my life, it was. Move on. Move on along. Was what my Daddy gave me, drylane highway edges where the weeds whip along in the traffic draft. Nights in the cricket dark of watertank lay me downs. And never no home for me."" As in his last novel The Catwalk (1964 p. 974) Mr. Erno creates a simple hero, an uncomplex personality who delights in life and the living of it under the Big Sky-- ""America, that is, the land and stretch of it, the mountains and the reach of them, the waters and their wanderlust."" The vision is pantoscopic, the prose lyric as we follow the adventures of this hobo hero, his odd jobs, his delight in the smell of bacon and eggs, his passion for Samantha, mistress of ""Uncle Satan"", a pitiable Revivalist. Samantha steadies Johnny as he starts a slow seduction but the lure of freight trains and freedom takes him away again. He returns to find ""Uncle"" dying and Samantha willing to follow him on the open road. But a final freight train ride destroys his legs leaving him alone with his visions of the past. Eloquent, oddly affecting, a prose poem set to the rhythm of America.

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 1966
Publisher: Crown