cover image Texas Bound: 19 Texas Stories

Texas Bound: 19 Texas Stories

. Southern Methodist University Press, $22.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87074-367-2

Storytelling has always been a revered art among homegrown Texans, and this collection of short fiction shows that the tradition continues to thrive. Texas Bound brings together short stories culled from the literary series, ``Arts and Letters Live,'' which since 1992 has presented Texas actors reading to theater audiences stories written by Texas writers. Not unlike the Lone Star state itself, the 19 short stories here cover a wide range of territory in terms of style, subject matter and setting. Each narrator in this collection speaks with a distinctive voice, even when the content itself is less than compelling. Yes, there is the stereotypical ode to a Texas beer joint, but there is also a tender account of a father who feels his son slipping away from him. Irreverence is rampant, especially in Lynna Williams's hilarious and ultimately poignant tale of a rebellious preacher's daughter attending Baptist youth camp in Oklahoma and in William Goyen's equally funny saga of how a Houston dry goods heiress becomes the owner of a palazzo (pronounced ``plotz-o'') in Venice and is crowned the Texas Principessa. Larry McMurtry's yarn of two young men out on the town before one goes off to war is gritty and realistic, and a touch wistful. Waco is the setting for Reginald McKnight's penetrating depiction of a young black man's struggle with racism, both external and internal. Eight of the stories are available on a companion audiocassette featuring Texas actors such as Judith Ivey and Tommy Lee Jones. (June)