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Terrains of the Heart and Other Essays on Home by Willie Morris YOKNAPATAIVPHA PRESS WATSON & COMPANY BOOKS OPEN TUES-SAT 10-6, SUN 10-4 the legendary RAW DEAL Steaks, Chops, Chicken open lunch and evenings 6th & Sabine, Austin No Reservations “The Miracle of the KILLER BEES” by Robert Heard. Honey Hill Publishing Co., 1022 Bonham Terrace, Austin, Texas 78704, $7.95 plus $1.03 tax and shipping. HA “G130015 cl %C1CN DS cPR ICE MA A I ES DALLAS BIG MAIN STORE. 4528 McKinney Dalias. i. 75205 DOWNTOWN Austin Alley across Irons El Centro College 711 Idnx Deltas, Tx 75202 FORT WORTH 3306 Fairfield to fadd. Stspg Cntr r or: Worm, Is 76116 AUSTIN ellt.try STORE. 1514 Lavaca Austin. T x 78701 6103 Burnet no Austin. Tx 78757 1914 0 Riverside Austin, I x 78741 FARMER’S BRANCH FarnonN Branch 50T9 Cntr vllrx %new 6 Jnsey Ln armor’s branco, Tr. 75234 GARLAND astnalc Shay CM , a560 N c: Mend, r. 75041 HOUSTON 1408 Ityde Parr, Houston, Tx 77006 820 rM 1960 oktustnn. r 77090 7537 instransttY 110..1511,, , 1 77005 KILLEEN 3327 Her ..lien. I 70541 HURST otr 43..1. nipehne Rd ti :1st 15 76053 PLANO RICliARDSON .oc narasnn, t, 15000 SAN ANTONIO 3707 Broadway `An Anton.. x 76209 tacon Callan: , in Rd ,10 Ill,\(11f 110. 1 e ’87:8 TEMPLE 2700 S Loou 361 ienipte Square ren.toc. Ts 75,541 WACO 807 It yam, Vats in was 767in There 0 more to us than many people rewire Like our big selection of hack Issue magazines some are real collectors’ items Like OUT new and used hardcover books on an amazing range of And now, I,k!t our growing record department. with new and used L P for a sanely of music al tastes And you thought .ve wee lust second hand rivvrbacksi p H RA L& GRECZIQRDS Gr3 00I5 M AUANES WE SELL AND I3UY ANYTHING PRINTED OR RECORDED Fatigue, rather than charity, inclines me to pass them without extensive comment, though I will say that Sironia, Texas is the book that makes the best doorstop. Some of the rest have talent, but none .so far has used it to write a book likely to last ten years. Most get by, to the extent that they do, on modest capacities for straight-grain narrative realism. They are story-tellers who tell ordinary stories rather ordinarily. If this seems harsh, pick up any one of their books and try reading it. There will be numerous passages that charm, but no book that compells acute attention. A. C. Greene’s attempt to make a case for I and Claudie is so much mouthwash. THE OTHER DAY it occurred to me,appropos of nothing, that the millenium is only 18 years away. Horses routinely live 18 years, but books don’t. It is quite possible that no book written in Texas in the last two or three decades will still seem worth reading 18 years hence. The problem is not so much shallow talent as shallow commitment. Our best writers’ approach to art is tentative and intermittent: half-assed, to put it bluntly. Instead of an infinite capacity for taking pains they develop an infinite capacity for avoiding work, and employ their creativity mainly to convince themselves that they are working well when in fact they are hardly working at all. The majority of our most talented writers have not yet produced even one book with a real chance of lasting. Forget second acts, in Texas literature: so far we have only a bare handful of credible first acts. Meanwhile, as the cities boom and the state changes, a great period is being wasted. Fiction in particular thrives on transitions, on the destruction of one life style by another. Houston and Dallas have sucked in thousands of Rubempres, but where are the books about them? These cities are dripping experience, but instead of sopping up the drippings and converting them into literature our writers mainly seem to be devoting themselves to an ever more selfconscious countrification. There is no point in belaboring the obvious. Until Texas writers are willing to work harder, inform themselves more broadly, and stop looking only backward, we won’t have a literature of any interest. THAT SAID, I want to reverse my thrust and pay tribute in closing to the one Texas writer for whose work I have The following is a selected list of titles mentioned by McMurtry in his essay. “OP” stands for out of print. Dillon Anderson. I and Claudie, Little Brown, 1951. OP. Edward Anderson. Thieves Like Us, Stokes, 1937; Avon, 1974. Both are OP. Donald Barthelme. Sixty Stories, Putnam’s Sons, 1981. Roy Bedichek. Adventures With a Texas Naturalist, University of Texas, 1961. \(Originally pubKarankaway County, University of Texas, 1974. Elroy Bode. Elroy Bode’s Texas Sketchbook, Texas Western, 1967. Elroy Bode’s Sketchbook II, Texas Western, 1972. Billy Lee Brammer. The Gay . Place, Texas Monthly, 1978. \(Originally published by Houghton William Casey. A Shroud for a Journey, Houghton Mifflin, 1961. OP, Walter Clemons. The Poison Tree and Other Stories, Houghton Mifflin, 1959. OP. Madison Cooper. Sironia, Texas, Houghton Mifflin, 1952. OP. Max Crawford. Backslider, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976; Avon, 1978. Waltz Across Texas, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975; Avon, 1978. James Crumley. Last Good Kiss, Random, 1978. One Count to Cadence, Random, 1969. OP. Robert Flynn. North to Yesterday, Knopf, 1967. OP. William Goyen. The House of Breath, Random, John Graves. Goodbye to a River, Knopf, 1960; University of Nebraska, 1977. John Howard Griffin. Black Like Me, Houghton Mifflin, 1962. The Devil Rides Outside, Smith’s, 1952. OP. Nuni, Houghton Mifflin, 1956. OP. Tom Horn. Shallow Grass, Macmillan, 1968. William Humphrey. Home from the Hill, Knopf, 1958. The Last Husband and Other Stories, Knopf, 1953. The Ordways, Knopf, 1965. OP. The Spawning Run, Delacorte, 1971. Tom Lea. The Hands of Cantu, Little, Brown, 1964. OP. The Wonderful Country, Gregg, 1979. \(Originally John Irsfield. Coming Through, Putnam’s Sons, 1976. OP. Little Kingdoms, Putnam’s Sons, 1975. OP. Preston Jones. Texas Trilogy, Hill and Wang, 1976. Sherry Kafka. Hannah Jackson, Morrow, 1966. OP. Edith SumnersKelley. Weeds, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1923. OP. Larry L. King. Of Outlaws, Con Men, Whores, Politicians and Other Artists, Viking, 1980. Larry McMurtry. Horseman, Pass By, Penguin, 1979. \(Originally published by Harper and In a Narrow Grave, Simon and Schuster, 1968. Leaving Cheyenne, Popular Library, 1963; Penguin, 1979. Terms of Endearment, Simon and Schuster, 1975. Vassar Miller. Approaching Nada, Wings Press, 1977. If I Could Sleep Deeply Enough, Liveright, 1974. My Bones Being Wiser, Wesleyan U. Press, 1960. 18 OCTOBER 23, 1981