All the Western Stars

Philip Lee Williams, Author Peachtree Publishers $16.95 (331p) ISBN 978-0-934601-47-4
Jake Baker and Lucas Kraft meet as roommates in a rest home in Georgia. At 73, Jake is quiet and self-contained with a varied, independent past, a wanderer who was once a high-rise construction worker. Lucas is an extravagant, histrionic novelist and poet who has won a National Book Award; he is no longer writing, however. Overcoming initial antipathy, the two unite to escape from the home, sharing a dream of ending their days as cowboys in Texas. It's a dream neither truly believes, but one they credibly realize in the picaresque adventures that make up this endearing novel from the author of The Heart of a Distant Forest. After hitchhiking from Georgia they find work on a ranch near Abilene, Jake in the kitchen and Lucas back at the typewriter. Both land parts as extras in a movie being filmed nearby, which stars Lucas's former wife. As Lucas hatches a plot to effect a marital reunion, Jake has romantic longings for a woman who works on the ranch, both men finding the path to love as compelling and adventurous as any wild-West fantasy they'd imagined. In the end each claims far more than his cowboy dream, discovering friendship and love as well as vigor and true heroism. This is an extraordinarily winning tale in the tradition of True Grit, with a heart as wide as a sky full of stars. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-345-35869-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-17118-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2493-2
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