Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Massacre at Goliad - Book Review

I followed through on my intention to read some Elmer Kelton and I picked up his Texas Sunrise, a two-novel volume about the birth of the Texas republic. The first novel is Massacre at Goliad about, well, the massacre at Goliad. Turns out, I made a good choice.

Kelton's books are considered genre westerns and though I have no problem with genre fiction of any kind, tagging a novel as a particular genre tends to unfairly ghetto-ize it. Massacre at Goliad is one of those books that transcends the genre and could have easily been a more mainstream novel that happens to be a western or an historical novel; the setting is the West, and the main events actually occurred so it fits easily in either category but Kelton's insight into his characters and their motivations is what puts this book a good many notches over whatever you think western might be. Kelton was a journalist so his mastery of good, clear prose is evident; his style never calls attention to itself or gets in the way of telling the story. A good start with this author. I'm glad I chose it.

Next up should be the second novel in this volume but I'm committed to reading Hemingway's True at First Light, remember? Got another 50 pages of that to slog through before I can return to this.

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