Colorful characters and ordinary folk alike fill the small towns and city streets of these fifty-two vignettes, which unfold with humor, poignance, understatement, or stark relief. The elements of real life emerge in the stories of childhood and growing up, of getting old and dying, of walking on ancestral lands and carving names in towering tree trunks, of high-school-prank blocking of traffic in a slower-paced Houston, of bookmobiles, remembered pets, and pecan pie.
These superbly crafted pieces, by various authors, represent the best of the nonfiction columns of State Lines, a weekly feature of Texas Magazine, Sunday magazine of the Houston Chronicle. Texas is an underlying element in all of them--"not flashy and intrusive," editor Ken Hammond tells us, "but there." Grounded in personal experience, each story goes beyond the commonplace or the obvious, to make a point and offer depth. The provocative lines of Rolf Laub's art add a twist-of-lemon humor that makes this collection a treasure not to be passed up.
There. We've described the treasure without once using the word essay. Houston Chronicle columnist Leon Hale's wryly inviting foreword will tell you why we shouldn't have done that.
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Published by Texas A&M University Press