State Lines

Edited by Ken Hammond

Foreword by Leon Hale

Illustrated by Rolf Laub

978-0-89096-562-7 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
240 pp. 8 b&w illus.
Pub Date: 09/01/1993

"There is a universality of humankind," writes one of the authors of the lines within this book. "A little town in South Texas is the same as a little town in John Donne's England. . . ." And so it is that these stories of moments and scenes and events in the state of Texas transcend the state lines and represent a state of mind.

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.

Wardlaw Books

Published by Texas A&M University Press