A SEASON OF WEATHERING by William A. Owens

A SEASON OF WEATHERING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Further reminiscences of youth in the hard times Texas of the '20's (This Stubborn Soil, 1966) in which Columbia University Professor Owens, who originally hailed from a nowhere settlement called Pin Hook, remembers his uphill route to a teaching certificate after a very rural schooling. But this is not the archetypal back-pat for privations overcome; Owens is primarily concerned here with a young man's emerging identity which reflects ""as dearly as possible the times I lived through and the people who lived through them with me."" Like Edmund Love's Some People Have All the Luck (p. 241) this spells out the way it was. Among the raw currents of Owens' adolescence -- the Fundamentalist Baptist community which demanded a total religious affirmation (when Owens fell short of the Call, withdrawal left him ""cringing in body, naked in soul""); a ""Pelmanite"" business ethic, encountered through toil in the Kress chain which lured him with a similar if not equal urgency; and the romantic attraction of literature -- a prod to intimate self-discovery. Owens eventually did teach in two rural schools (one in the seminal Pin Hook) but hirings and firings were not unusual as the Depression set in, and Owens closes this memoir on the road. The reconstructions of revival meetings, electric with the Word and the pounding hymns (""That song sure gets to the gizzard,"" admired one elderly sister), are never weakened by condescension or sentimentality; and the dark side of American pioneer tribalism (the Klan, intolerance, passive acceptance of dead-end living) are simply reported, never weighted one way or another. Hopefully the author will continue to record more seasons in his American journey.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Scribners