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Reviews 351 of traveling/beyond a given place”; “Now is a ripe orange. Seize, love it”; “Masks are needed, vizors,/dominoes ofdaring”;survival is “knowingwhat to lose—and letting go.” Both passionate and intellectual throughout her career, in her later work de Longchamps speaks in a more personal voice, attentive to the outside world as well as to the inner one. She looks closer to home for her subjects, to the Nevada “creek shallows” and the “fog-dripping” Pacific-coast mornings, and employs modest, homely metaphors to compose the stunning poems of her last years: “No single image,” she writes of her son, “keeps or captures/you in my rooms of love,/my house of shifting mirrors.”But the poems of these years also display another, more playful side: in a wry poem describing a plover that picks the teeth of crocodiles, she notes that “dentists are necessary/evils, even in jungle/rivers.” Tom by Light is a compelling collection of poems. It is also a striking collection of paper collages created by de Longchamps. A suggestion for the University of Nevada Press, sure to bring both de Longchamps and the Press more recognition: a deluxe, full-color edition of de Longchamps’ animal col­ lages and animal poems. NANCYPROTHRO ARBUTHNOT U. S. Naval Academy One-Eyed Cowboy Wild. ByJohn D. Nesbitt. (New York: Walker and Company, 1994. 171 pages, $19.95.) John D. Nesbitt has made a name for himself as a teacher at Eastern Wyoming College, as a critic and reviewer of western American literature, and as a versatile writer ofpoetry and short fiction. Now comes One-Eyed Cowboy Wild, his first novel. And a remarkable work it is. Cast in the 1890s, the story concerns two pairs of brothers. One pair includes the hero Gene Hill, thoughtful, sensitive, conscientious, and reliable, and Zeke Hill, wild, impetuous, unworrying. The other pair are Charlie and Chet Bickford, whose fatherJesse “seemed to emanate evil, as if whatever had been bad in the sons originated in him, and been passed on to them in diluted form.”We also have two young women: Virginia Bransford, attractive but prim, with folded hands, and Katharine Rose, whose dark eyes sparkle and whose hands do gardening and reach out to the hero. Nesbitt’s contrasts are not merely physical but moral as well. Gene has a conscience; Zeke and the Bickfords do not. Thoughts about free will, fate, and the consequences ofaction enrich the dramatic equation. Trouble starts when Zeke returns from Texas to work on the Wyoming ranch where Gene is a hired hand—and to rekindle an old rivalry with Charlie. Nesbitt is a true artist: he skillfully etches details of Wyoming, ranch work, 352 Western American Literature horses and cattle, pastels in his natural backdrops with a knowing eye, character­ izes with Dickensian tags, lets us smell the men’swork close up, and balances his plot with mathematical precision. One third of the way through his eighteen chapters, deadly action explodes. To pivot the second half, a lawman and an agent ofrevenge enter. At the two-thirds mark, Gene, feeling incomplete, wants to “go out of himself.” Not being a traditional shoot-’em-up, One-Eyed Cowboy Wild has as its most stylish feature dialogue which is simply superb—natural, easy, crackling, reveal­ ing, laconic. The novel rewards rc-reading, for only then can we appreciate its patterns of foreshadowing and its use of key words such as “burden,” “eagle,” “gate,” “lucky,” and “trail.” Though fitted with a poignant finale, the openendedness of the work hints at the possibility of a sequel. Let’s hope so. ROBERT L. GALE University ofPittsburgh The Temptations ofSt. Ed & BrotherS. ByFrank Bergon. (Reno: The University of Nevada Press, 1993. 220 pages, $18.95.) Editor, scholar, and author Frank Bergon has committed his considerable intellectual talents and compassionate heart to illuminating the story of the American West. Among other books, he has edited an abridged version of the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition and written a first novel about a tragic historical encounter between white settlers and Shoshone Indians. Bergon’s new novel is a compelling parable about the folly inherent in the religion of Progress...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 351-352
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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