Archive for the ‘Wild West’ Category


Family bonds, particularly between fathers and sons, and mothers and sons, are explored with great sorrow and depth in this elegiac and epic tale of the Skala family, hard-working Czech farmers in Lavaca County. In the fertile flat lands of South Texas, in the fictional town of Dalton, 1895, Karel Skala is the fourth son born to Vaclav and Klara, and the one that results in Klara’s death. Vaclav’s pain shuts him down, and he forsakes holding his son.

November 17, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Family Matters, Reading Guide, Texas, Wild West

CROSSERS by Philip Caputo

I dashed out to buy Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, Philip Caputo’s, latest novel, CROSSERS, after reading an enthusiastic review in my local newspaper. I was unfamiliar with this author, but I was intrigued by the promise of a burly border tale. I was not disappointed. This is a generational saga and epic of the southwest, bristling with illegal border crossers and warring drug cartels, studded with outlaws and vaqueros. A dense book, it starts rather slowly, gradually lassoing the reader into a complex, emotional story brittle with sepulchral secrets and spilling with scoured grief.

October 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · 2 Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: US Southwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

HALF BROKE HORSES by Jeannette Walls

Jeannette Walls is a natural-born storyteller. In her memoir THE GLASS CASTLE, she described in fascinating detail what it meant to be the daughter of Rose Mary and Rex, perhaps two of the most dysfunctional individuals on the planet, brainy underachievers who raised their bevy of children in a most unconventional way.

By the end of that book, Jeannette was on her way to graduating from BARNARD COLLEGE and becoming a celebrated journalist in New York City. I exited the book wanting to know more and in ways, HALF BROKE HORSES goes back to the well, helping readers understand the forces that shaped her mother Rose Mary.

September 18, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Facing History, Family Matters, US Southwest, Wild West


Every now and then, a “stealth book” comes along – one that surprises you, captures you in its grip, and doesn’t let go until you turn the last page. THE GHOST OF MILAGRO CREEK is such a book.


I expected this book to be something else entirely – a light mystery about two blood brothers who vied for the same gringo girl in the Cain-and-Abel tradition. In reality, the book is lyrical, poignant, and from time to time, electrifying. It depicts the life of the Taos barrio colorfully and – in my mind – authentically.

July 7, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Reading Guide, US Southwest, Wild West, y Award Winning Author

EVERYTHING by Kevin Canty

Kevin Canty writes with a spare beauty. The book is designed so that there is a lot of white space on the pages and this space carries meaning. EVERYTHING is about people who are lost, looking for love, recovering from poor choices and yet have a resiliency that carries them through their damaged lives with strength and a certain dignity. Canty’s characters are able to tell us as much about themselves in their silences as when they speak.

July 6, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, US Frontier West, Wild West

WORK SONG by Ivan Doig

These days, one of the more famous attractions in Butte, Montana, is the Berkeley pit—a crater full of acidic water and toxic heavy metals. Now one of the costliest Superfund sites in the country, the pit is a remnant of what was once a roaring industry in the city—copper mining. Before the open pit mining technique as exemplified by the Berkeley pit took over the countryside, much of the copper mining in Butte was carried out underground.

It is this underground copper mining industry that forms the backdrop for Ivan Doig’s latest novel, Work Song. Set around 1918 and early 1919, shortly after the end of World War I, it includes a colorful assortment of characters and backdrops. Chief among these is the protagonist, Morrie Morgan, who, as the novel opens, has just arrived in Butte to make a fortune from “The Richest Hill on Earth.”

June 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Reading Guide, US Northwest, Wild West