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Reviews 81 Readers who know the country at timberline — who have puffed in the thin air, felt hair prickle in a thunderstorm, leaned into howling winds, squinted in brilliant high altitude sunlight, or wondered in their shelter whether the sky would run out of snow before they ran out of food and fuel— will identify with and appreciate Smith’s narrative. They will recognize the authentic voice of a man at home spiritually and physically in the moun­ tains. Readers who have spent time alone in such country will share Smith’s annoyance at intrusions by those not in harmony with the land or with Smith’s way of living in it. One is reminded of Colin Fletcher in the Grand Canyon, annoyed by the intrusion of a fellow hiker, even though a friend. The reader who does not know the country or the experience about which Smith writes, however, may miss in his quiet tone the courage and endurance and insight into land and self implicit in the book. Beyond these general matters of theme and tone, the author offers interesting pictures of animals and flatlanders at play in the mountains. Smith’s comments on residents of the area, on the “professionals” (foresters, wildlife specialists), and on such diverse types as trail bikers and conservation­ ist David Brower are interesting, sometimes humorous, and always perceptive. His view of the uses to which the mountains should and should not be put is balanced — neither for extreme preservation nor heedless exploitation. The focus of the narration is blurred at times by such matters as fretting over photographic problems or troubles with radio communication. The style does not match that of Krutch or Abbey or Leopold. But for those who know the Colorado Rockies, or would like to become acquainted, this will be an enjoyable book. PAUL T. BRYANT, Colorado State University Talking with Texas Writers: Twelve Interviews. By Patrick Bennett. (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1980. Introduction. Photographs and bibliographies of individual writers. Index. 307 pages, $12.95.) Here one can meet twelve Texas writers, nine of whom are native Texans: Larry McMurtry, A. C. Greene, John Graves, Leon Hale, Elmer Kelton, Frances Sanger Mossiker, William Goyen, Tom Lea and Larry King. The other three write about or live in Texas, but are not native Texans: Max Apple, Grand Rapids, Michigan, now in Houston; Shelby Reed Hearon, Marion, Kentucky, who, until recently, lived in Austin, and Preston Jones, Albuquerque, New Mexico, who lived in Dallas until his untimely death in 1979. Bennett justified his selection in that “a Texas writer is one who has spent his formative years in Texas, regardless of where he lives now, or [is] 82 Western American Literature one who has moved to Texas and [who has] become a resident” (p. 6). He adds that he has chosen “writers producing now, with work still in their typewriters” (p. 6). Since Bennett has selected living authors, one might ask, why these twelve? Are they the best? What about Benjamin Capps of Grand Prairie? or Laura Krey, Austin; Suzanne Morris, Houston; Frank X. Tolbert, Dallas, or writers mentioned by several of the “chosen twelve,” such as Texan Don L. Coburn, who wrote The Gin Game, or Bob Flynn, San Antonio, who wrote North of Yesterday. Perhaps his next twelve will include some of these writers, for as Bennett says, there is a limit to the number one can put in one book. W'hat Bennett has done is valuable for the ideas and thoughts he evokes from the Texas writers. His format is consistent. He introduces the writers with a brief biographical sketch, asks when they began writing, where they get the names of their characters, if they revise their work, when they find time to write, what advice they would give to young writers, what authors they admire, and who may have influenced them. The writing habits of the twelve authors vary. Some compose at the typewriter (McMurtry, Greene, Kelton, Graves, King, Mossiker) ; others compose in longhand and then type (Hale, Jones, Goyen, Apple, Hearon, Lea). Some use an outline; some carry parts of the story around in their heads, and when it seems time, they begin writing...


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pp. 81-82
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