The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blood and Memory - Robert Benson

Blood and Memory.

By Robert Benson. Huntsville: Texas Review Press, 2006 ISBN 978-1-881515-90-6 in black cloth $24.95 and 1-881515-91-5 paper $18.95 5 1/2x8 1/2. 168 pp. Distributed by the TAMU Consortium.

This memoir of the author and his father sets in a Louisiana that is easily replicable in Deep East Texas. If you’ve played barefooted in the yard as a child, reacted to snakes, tromped the woods, saw your brother decapitated, been sent away, or lived within a flow of family secrets and love, you’ll find Benson’s recollections a rewarding, redemptive read. It moves quickly. Benson, a successful English professor and writer, taught for a while at the University of Dallas but has spent most of his time elsewhere. Some of these stories first appeared in literary journals, including Sewanee Review.

Benson has closely inspected Cormac McCarthy’s work, and there is an interesting affinity between McCarthy and Benson. The honesty and plain style of Benson feel like an intimate conversation over a gingham covered kitchen table. The anecdotal telling with salient details takes you to places of mystery, childish delight and pride, horror, superstition, mortality, and meditation.

Blood and Memory has a better bite than the Willie Morris (another fine Southern interloper) volume Good Old Boy.