Harold Stevens, 12 years old, is growing up in the red dirt country of north Texas. He's got buddies with whom he shoots varmints, dares bulls and train trestles, and wonder about girls, but his closest companion is a black farmhand named CK who teaches him a lot about the world -- from how to dry red-dirt marijuana to the kind of food served in the black part of town. Southern published this small novel in 1991, after a 20-year dry spell, and it's a slight, somewhat aimless effort that depends quite a bit on short stories he'd written as much as 35 years before. "Texas Summer" has a gentle, elegiac feel, with a strong sense of dialogue and character.
This report prepared by David Loftus