Tickling Catfish

A Texan Looks at Culture from Amarillo to Borneo

978-0-89096-728-7 Paperback
6 x 9. 160 pp. 15 line drawings.
Pub Date: 11/01/1996
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Tall tales and "true stories" are mixed here with author Jerry Craven's mind-teasing musings on culture and language. Starting with West Texas, Tickling Catfish builds its way surely through anecdotes and allusion into the ways of people elsewhere-from a street musician playing a leaf in Mexico City to gem smugglers in Malaysia, from Texas boys tripping cows to Singaporians listening to dogs bark in Chinese. And all the stories are told with an appropriate dose of sophisticated prairie humor.

In his art of telling stories, Craven balances timing, rhythm, style, and content. His style is at once elegant and simple, a mixture of up-tempo phrasing and brief story lines that flow naturally to one of three conclusions: punchline, moral, or wish. The stories share observations on customs, language, home, and human nature and serve as a hedge against parochialism, even when focusing on snipe hunts, armadillo grabs, and hog boxing. Whimsically illustrated by Jean Dixon and recognizable to readers anywhere, Tickling Catfish offers new, recent, or would-be Texans a cheerful companion in their quest for full Texas citizenship.

Wardlaw Books

Published by Texas A&M University Press