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Book Image Not Available
Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Coming of Age
  • Language:English
  • Pages:261
  • eBook ISBN:9780989632942

Understanding Women

by C.W. Smith

Book Image Not Available
Overview
Named “best novel” by the Texas Institute of Letters, C.W. Smith’s Understanding Women is the hilarious and moving account of a teenage boy’s encounters in the prickly thicket of adult domestic difficulties. When James (Jimbo) Proctor gets an offer from his Uncle Waylan to spend a summer working in the oil fields as a roustabout to earn the cash for a car, he happily agrees. But when he arrives in the small New Mexico town, he finds that his uncle and aunt are living apart. He and his uncle have to bunk in the back of the uncle’s shop. Jimbo wonders if this is just a little spat or a serious breach (it keeps him from enjoying his aunt’s home cooked meals), and is it related to Uncle Waylan’s recent acquisition of a stunning young secretary named Sharon? Thinking of himself as the protagonist of what he calls The Hardy Boy and the Mystery of the Marital Estrangement, Jimbo sets out to solve the puzzle of what makes people fall in and out of love. The mystery grows exponentially deeper and more personal when Jimbo himself tumbles headlong for Sharon’s cousin, Trudy, a college girl and aspiring writer who teaches him about beatniks and bebop and the manly art of bedding a beloved. “What's inside Jimbo's head makes for compulsive and delicious reading. He watches his uncle and his fellow workers for clues as to what makes a man, and he obsesses, with extraordinary in¬nocence, over all the different women in this story and their relationship to him and to his uncle. Sweat and drink, smoking and cussing, sex talk and sex dreams and sex stories—all that boy stuff is articulated beautifully, as is Jimbo's growing sense of women as actual people….Wonderful reading. “ (Booklist)
Description
Named “best novel” by the Texas Institute of Letters, C.W. Smith’s Understanding Women is the hilarious and moving account of a teenage boy’s encounters in the prickly thicket of adult domestic difficulties. When James (Jimbo) Proctor gets an offer from his Uncle Waylan to spend a summer working in the oil fields as a roustabout to earn the cash for a car, he happily agrees. But when he arrives in the small New Mexico town, he finds that his uncle and aunt are living apart. He and his uncle have to bunk in the back of the uncle’s shop. Jimbo wonders if this is just a little spat or a serious breach (it keeps him from enjoying his aunt’s home cooked meals), and is it related to Uncle Waylan’s recent acquisition of a stunning young secretary named Sharon? Thinking of himself as the protagonist of what he calls The Hardy Boy and the Mystery of the Marital Estrangement, Jimbo sets out to solve the puzzle of what makes people fall in and out of love. The mystery grows exponentially deeper and more personal when Jimbo himself tumbles headlong for Sharon’s cousin, Trudy, a college girl and aspiring writer who teaches him about beatniks and bebop and the manly art of bedding a beloved. “What's inside Jimbo's head makes for compulsive and delicious reading. He watches his uncle and his fellow workers for clues as to what makes a man, and he obsesses, with extraordinary in¬nocence, over all the different women in this story and their relationship to him and to his uncle. Sweat and drink, smoking and cussing, sex talk and sex dreams and sex stories—all that boy stuff is articulated beautifully, as is Jimbo's growing sense of women as actual people….Wonderful reading. “ (Booklist)
About the author
C.W. Smith is the author of nine novels -- Thin Men of Haddam (Grossman/Viking), Country Music (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), The Vestal Virgin Room (Atheneum), Buffalo Nickel (Poseidon/Simon & Schuster), Hunter’s Trap (Texas Christian University Press), Understanding Women (TCU Press), Gabriel’s Eye (Winedale Books), Purple Hearts (TCU Press), and Steplings (TCU Press). A collection of short stories, Letters From the Horse Latitudes was published in 1994. His short stories have appeared in Mademoiselle, Vision, Southwest Review, Sunstone Review, Carolina Quarterly, New Mexico Humanities Review, Quartet, Cimarron Review, American Literary Review, American Short Fiction, The Missouri Review and other magazines. A collection of essays, Tripped Up: a memoir in pieces, will appear in late 2014 from DeGolyer Library Books. He has also been a reporter and film critic for The Dallas Times Herald whose articles have also appeared in Esquire, TV Guide, Texas Monthly, Eastern Review, Atlanta, D, The Texas Humanist, and The Utne Reader, as well as other periodicals. His autobiographical book dealing with children after a divorce -- Uncle Dad -- was published by Putnam/Berkley in 1989. He has twice received the Jesse H. Jones Novel Award from the Texas Institute of Letters; the Southwestern Library Association Award for Best Novel; the Dobie-Paisano Creative Writing Fellowship from the University of Texas; National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships in 1976 and 1990; the Frank O' Connor Memorial Short Story Award from Quartet magazine; the John H. McGinnis Short Story Award from Southwest Review; a Pushcart Prize Nomination from Southwest Review, and an award for Best Nonfiction Book by a Texan in 1987 from the Southwestern Booksellers Association. He belongs to PEN American Center, The Authors Guild, Writer's Guild of America West, and the Texas Institute of Letters. Web site: http://cwsmiththeauthor.com
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