(by Edna Ferber)
I’m going to the ACCC. I bought this novel expecting an “epic inter-generational family saga, sweeping across the vast Texan plains” as advertised. Instead I got a primer on the great state of Texas. The reader, personified by our delicate naïve Eastern bride Leslie asks the questions and her big bold Texian husband Bick, lord of the immense Reata ranch acreage answers:
“‘Oh Jordan, I wish we could live up here in the mountains. I wish we could stay up here and Uncle Bawley could run Reata. Couldn’t he? Couldn’t he?’
‘Get this, If you can understand anything that isn’t Virginia and pink coats and hunt dinners and Washington tea parties. Just get this. I run Reata. I run Holgado. I run the damn wet Humedo Division and Los Gatos too and a lot you’ve never head of. Everything in them and on them is run by me. I run everything and everyone that has the Reata brand on it'”
Leslie when sightseeing:-
“Leslie bought a guidebook and a concise history of the city, modern and debunked. She walked about reading from these, one finger between the pages, her gaze going from book to object in approved tourist fashion.
“You can’t do that!” the Texans protested, outraged.
‘Mmm – San Antonio,” mumbled Leslie. “Who named it San Antonio?”
The Texans stared at one another. “Uh-“
Her forefinger traced down the page. “Let’s see…Don Domingo Teran de los Rios, with Father Damian Massanet and an escort of fifty soldiers…June 1691…came upon Rancheria of Payayas…What’s a Payaya?”
“Indian tribe,” Bick replied briskly.”
Leslie is a bore. Bick is a bore. Texas is a bore. Nothing happens for the whole 384 pages. Only the beginning and end of the book (in which the one lively character, Jett Rink, is central) are of interest. The middle is a desert.