Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Forgotten Genre

Mysteries, Fantasy, Chick Lit, Romance, SF (not Sci-Fi, I was informed), Christian, Thriller....all these literary genres get all the glory, the awards, and the big names. But what about the poor Western? Whatever happened to the glory days of Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour and Ray Hogan? The steely-eyed cowboy, the lonesome drifter and the determined but beautiful farmer's widow all seemed to disappear. But wait! With the sound of hooves, a cloud of dust and a hearty High-Ho Silver, new popular interest has arrived in the nick of time to breathe life back into a moribund genre. Two of the most watched films of last year were Westerns: 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Maverick Arizona politician John McCain (who would probably have been a cowboy in an earlier time) is the Republican front runner. And we have a new book on the shelves: The Rebels: sons of Texas. A reprint of Elmer Kelton's 1990 edition that he published under a pseudonym, this book follows the adventures of the Lewis brothers in Mexican-controlled Texas just before the Battle of San Jacinto (which is actually how the book closes). Reacquaint yourself with all the comforting hallmarks of the Western genre and drift back into our frontier past.
(On a side note, thank you for your patience during this incredibly snowy weekend. I don't know what the deal is with all this snow - I didn't move to Alaska to deal with a bunch of cold weather, for pete's sake!)

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