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Thin Men Of Haddam

Smith, C. W.

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ISBN 10: 0670700398 / ISBN 13: 9780670700394
Published by Grossman, 1973
Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket Hardcover
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New York. 1973. Grossman. 1st Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 327 pages. December 1973. hardcover. C. W. Smith (born 1940) is a novelist, short-story and essay writer who serves as a Dedman Family Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Southern Methodist University. C. W. Smith (full name Charles William Smith) was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and grew up in Hobbs, New Mexico. He received a B.A. in English from the University of North Texas in 1964 and an M.A. in English from Northern Illinois University in 1967. After teaching at Southwest Missouri State University, he moved to Mexico for a year to work on his first novel, Thin Men of Haddam. Published by Viking/Grossman in 1973, the book won the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for the Best Novel by a Texan or about Texas and was recognized by the Southwestern Library Association for making a ‘distinguished contribution to an understanding of a vital social issue in the American Southwest.’ Smith has said that his goal since beginning his first novel has been ‘to document in a dramatic fashion the cultural conflicts of the American Southwest as well as the universal, existential dilemmas that arise from being human regardless of place and time.’ In pursuit of that goal, his second novel, set in West Texas among oil field workers and small-town citizens, sought to portray the lives of young people trapped in circumstances too small for their aspirations. Jacket design by B. H. Armstrong. 0670700398. keywords: 41386. inventory # 31049. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Méndez: a chicano, a ranch foreman thanks to fortunate circumstance, intellectual, and ambitious for himself and his people. Manuelo: his unemployed cousin, desperate, angry, and bent on avenging the wrongs he has suffered. Bond: ranch hand, buffoon, tale-spinner, a former preacher whose congregation now is Mendez. Houston: a Chicagoan who hopes to rebuild his life on the ranch he has just inherited. Four men who dream of the sky but are bound to the earth, who have cast themselves in roles but do not control the script, around whom C. W. Smith has built his remarkable first novel, THIN MEN OF HADDAM. It is a rich and sweeping story, set in the Southwest, impregnated with regional humor and color, and distinguished by a sure sense of characterization and plotting. The novel is constructed of stories told by its characters and flashbacks involving Méndez, the protagonist, who struggles to reconcile his dreams with his hatred for the Anglos who alone can satisfy them, and to satisfy both his self-interest and his desire to be a martyr for his people. Its tension ever building, the novel moves inexorably to its climactic scene, a dead-of-night manhunt in the rugged, semi-arid hills of West Texas. Readers of THIN MEN OF HADDAM will find echoes of Faulkner and Cervantes, but Smith is his own man, a writer whose major talents are fully displayed in this big, stemwinding novel of extraordinary authority, wit, and dramatic power. Bookseller Inventory # 31049

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Thin Men Of Haddam

Publisher: Grossman

Publication Date: 1973

Binding: hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good In Dustjacket

Edition: 1st Edition.

About this title


Set in southwestern New Mexico, “Thin Men of Haddam” deals with the problems of Hispanics trying to make their way in an Anglo world.  Orphaned as a child and reared by an Anglo family, Raphael Mendez lives in a nether world, neither de la raza nor Anglo. Having dropped out of graduate school after a squabble with his fellowship sponsors, he is foreman of the ranch of his childhood.  Paired against Mendez in this striking first novel is his cousin, Manuelo —practically literature, broke, and the father of six starving children, and unable to find work.  When Manuelo’s desperation pushes him to the other side of the law, Mendez must choose sides.

The novel is impressive for its crisp, clear depiction of local life in the area known as “Little Texas” and for its intense portrayal of the desperation of some Hispanics at the time.

About the Author:

Lee is emeritus professor and former chair of the English Department at the University of North Texas. He is also acquisitions editor of TCU Press.

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