The Eye of the Mammoth: Selected Essays

Stephen Harrigan. Univ. of Texas, $29.95 (316p) ISBN 978-0-292-74561-2
This collection spans Harrigan's 32-year career, and while the essays range in subject from sunrise in Houston to Cortes's massacre of the Aztecs, most are firmly planted in his native Texas. Harrigan is a masterful storyteller, cataloguing scenery and character beautifully, often with great humor. He takes us through a great deal of the natural world, trekking through the Chihuahuan Desert, Rocky Mountain National Park, Chaco Canyon, and the Waco Mammoth Site; even his urban stories spend a great deal of time close to the earth. These pieces convey a deep and rewarding connection with place. Reaching across the history of Texas, both natural and cultural, he creates a paradoxical effect—collapsing the sweeping distances of a vast and varied state while giving it's immense particularly its due. No specialist, he relies on the input of a series of guides: in "On the Edge" we meet a zoologist poet, while in "Comanche Midnight" it's the great-grandson of a Comanche leader. Harrigan gives each their due. Best of all, he has an uncanny knack for ending his essays in exactly the right place, more often than not carrying what would otherwise have been pleasant and serviceable to a stirring and unusually satisfying conclusion. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 978-0-292-74563-6
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