Hardscrub

Lionel G. Garcia, Author Arte Publico Press $10 (300p) ISBN 978-1-55885-005-7
``My father was not like . . . other men. . . . I never saw him show any love or good feelings toward my sister Sylvia or my brother Richard or me. . . . My father served what you call hardscrub time for killing a man in Oklahoma when we were babies.'' From his intelligent 11-year-old's perspective, Jim Jones relates--wrenchingly and unforgettably--several months of his Texan family's transient existence during the early '50s. We witness the exchanges between him and his older, protective brother, and the premature death of his sister. Deserted by their abusive, alcoholic father, the brothers and their mother spend a relatively peaceful interlude with relatives. On the verge of independence, the mother--more concerned with the survival of her marriage than with her sons' welfare--leads the boys back to their father; this cycle continues. Somewhat awkwardly, the narrative leaps 20 years, with Jim revealing not only Richard's abiding wounds but his own problematic ascension to the middle class. Garcia is the author of PEN Southwest Award-winner Leaving Home. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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