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76 Western American Literature With amazing deftness, Taylor’s prose resounds out into the civilized world, bringing the Rio Grande Canyon vividly to our living rooms. The prose is clean, clear and sharply cut. It blazes out; there is no evading it, no bettering it. The finest example occurs on page 6, wjhere he writes of the relationship between night and the animals. He tells how the animals wait for the familiar cover of the dark, how it reassures them. Then, in a brilliance of language, he tells how the night speaks to the animals, telling them to rise, and move, “Now, soon, go in my dark graces that I have brought from across the word for your free passage." How did Jim Taylor come into this special knoweldge? How did he learn these words? (For there is on doubting the words; we believe instantly that this is exactly what the night has always said to the animals.) There is a moment of keen recognition, the I’ve-read-thissomewhere -before feeling that so often occurs whn one reads a truly great work. It strikes the reader as being completely true. In short, I believe Jim Taylor’s chapbook, believe that he’s been keeping in touch with the universe, looking out, closely, at the world. His response to the bear is total, blazing with admiration and simple humility, slapstick antics and the beautiful enthusiasm of a child. “The fur of the bear was dancing in the sunlight,” he tells us, and we see it with him, see him jumping up and down, yelling “Bear!” and laughing. Clearly, Jim Taylor has bagged his bear. Read Seeing A Bear and share the generous bounty. V ic t o r ia M c C a b e , El Paso Community College, Colorado Springs, Colo. The Kid._ A Novel by John Seelye. (New York; The Viking Press, 1972. 119 pages, .$.95.) This cute little book seems to be an answ>er to the question of what kind of literature can be produced by an overdose of Leslie Fiedler, if anybody ever asked. Seelye provides a capsule analysis of the book on the epigraph page with lines from Virgil, Owen Wister, Mark Twain, and Fiedler who says, “T o understand the West as somehow a joke comes a little closer to getting it straight.” Certainly Seelye has taken this advice seriously. A Western rooted in the native soil of Connecticut, compounded of the authors noted above, touching briefly on virtually every aspect of the frontier experience, and ending with so many corpses they have to be boxed two at a time, this book is a mixture pretty well guaranteed to include some curious effects, all crammed into a thin one hundred and nineteen pages. For Seelye fans (The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) who wanted to see what he could do on his own, I ’m sorry to say this is it. The book’s action is staged in Wyoming Territory in the dead but not quite buried ex-Fort Besterman. It is early spring following the great Reviews 77 blizzard which ended the Golden Age of the cattle industry and the heroic cowboys of the free range. The cowboys left in Besterman are living on free whiskey and gumbo mud and the smell of dead cows and are “ornery as a con­ stipated bull.” The offscouring of the frontier, these cowhands-out-of-work are anything but heroic. Besdies the stickum of clay mud the town is held together by the half­ hearted efforts of a one-armed, cast-off army captain and his sidekick Winky, whose blinking eyes are the result of Indian torture of an unstated nature. According to Winky “ the nail that held that town in place” was the Judge— really Huck Finn in the disguise of age, of course— who spends his declining years pickling his dreams in Red-Eye. Winky akes time off from running errands for the Captain and the Judge to narrate the story. This trio seems little enough to repreesnt law and order, but all that is really left of the town is Bradley’s doggery, presided over by Fiddler Jones, the “resident devil...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 76-78
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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