Riding the Wind and Other Tales

978-0-89096-781-2 Cloth
5 x 8 x 0 in
176 pp.
Pub Date: 10/01/1997
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Even a place as big as Texas is ultimately made up of small things: a rugged mesquite shrub, a fruitless mulberry tree, a decaying neighborhood park with a polluted creek. When you place a rabbit in the shade of that mesquite, or a ring of Stars-of-Bethlehem blooming at the base of the mulberry, or some boys in the park attempting to fly a box kite, or especially when you begin to explore memories triggered by the sights and smells of these small pieces of the mighty Southwest, then you begin to find what makes Texas or any place real: stories — James Hoggard’s stock in trade.

This collection of tales represents Hoggard’s nearly thirty-year contribution to Texas literature. As with Larry McMurtry’s In a Narrow Grave, Hoggard’s ruminative and witty tales link issues of time, place, culture, and language. Riding the Wind connects nasty Texas weather and life on the inhospitable plains with the need to tell stories. “Sandstone and Ice: Memory and Sight” revives a childhood memory of a rattlesnake-ridden sandstone hill and the frozen pond at its base and uses the image as a metaphor for the narrative powers of memory. Many of the stories, such as “Back There, Passing Through,” are poignant meditations on time and place set in familiar Texas towns. This collection is not limited to regional topics, however as is evident in “Letter from Nineveh,” a powerful account set in the Middle East, where Hoggard was a visiting scholar just before the start of the Gulf War. Hoggard’s unpretentious, self-deprecating, and funny narrative voice and his original and insightful observations on the human condition will delight any reader — from native Texans to those who have never set foot in the Lone Star State.

Tarleton State University Southwestern Studies in the Humanities

Published by Texas A&M University Press