“Fig newtons” of the imagination and of memory abound in this marvelous collection of twenty-two stories by Texas women. “Fig newtons” such as the magical moment when a dying grandmother teaches Sue Ellen to dance, the red shoes Tammy the Tupperware Princess dons in New Orleans, the yellow thread needed to put Sue Tidwell’s quilt together, or weekends of escape and sisterhood spent in El Paso’s McCoy Hotel.
The stories chosen here—and introduced and placed in their historical and literary context by editors Sylvia Ann Grider and Lou Halsell Rodenberger—together weave a story of their own: the story of women’s writing in the Lone Star State. From 1865, when a prescient science fiction work was serialized in the Galveston newspaper, until the present, women have written of a different Texas than the stereotypical Wild West of men’s writing. Beverly Lowry, Carolyn Osborn, Annette Sanford, Denise Chavez, Katherine Anne Porter, Judy Alter, Joyce Gibson Roach, and others have told a range of stories that capture the range of circumstances, feelings, and experiences Texas women have known and lived.
As Susan Wiltshire Ford writes in “The Quilt,” “any grief was bearable if you could tell a story about it or make a story out of it.” Texas women have borne grief and laughter, hope and memory by telling a story. Let’s hear it.
Folklorist Sylvia Grider is an associate professor of anthropology at Texas A&M University, where she teaches classes in folklore and Texas cultural history. A specialist in material culture, she is currently researching the creation of spontaneous shrines at sites of disaster and catastrophe.Lou Halsell Rodenberger, professor emeritus of English at McMurry University, has written essays and articles on Texas and southwestern women writers. Her most recent book is Texas Women Writers: A Tradition of Their Own, co-edited with Sylvia Grider, and published by Texas A&M University Press. Other works include Her Work: Stories by Texas Women and Jane Gilmore Rushing, a monograph-length study in the Western Writers Series.
What Readers Are Saying:
“Both books should be appreciated by serious students of Texas letters – or by anyone who just likes to settle in and read some good stories.” --Abilene Reporter-News
“The book is a pleasure to dip into. It is a fine contribution to women’s studies.” --Texas Books in Review
“...expectations are met wonderfully well.” --The Dallas Morning News
“But one of the greatest pleasures the volume affords is discovering early stories, such as Molly E. Moore Davis’ ‘An Elephant’s Track’(1897).” --The Dallas Morning News
“This compilation of short stories by Texas women writers is excellent, and the stories are both entertaining and thought provoking. . . . Anyone interested in literature, Texas history, or social history would enjoy this book. . . . This collection makes a significant contribution to Texas literature.” --East Texas Historical Journal
“The anthology will see great use as a text in literature classes, but also would be a delightful addition to the library of anyone who likes good Texas stories.” --Panhandle-Plains Historical Review
“This is an excellent text book choice for a literature class. Students can acquire it, enjoy it, and probably be happy to keep it afterward. . . the reader is invited to begin anywhere, enjoy the book, and follow the excellent history and bibliographic citations as far as time and desire allow.” --West Texas Historical Association