“A kind of home-made book—imperfect like a handmade thing, a prize. It’s a galloping, spontaneous book, on occasion within whooping distance of that greatest and sweetest of country books, Ivan Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Notebook.” --The New York Times Book Review
“Hard Scrabble is hard pastoral of the kind we have learned to recognize in Wordsworth, Frost, Hemingway, and Faulkner. It celebrates life in accommodation with a piece of the ‘given’ creation, a recalcitrant four hundred or so acres of Texas cedar brake, old field, and creek bottom which will require of any genuine resident all the character he can muster.” --Southwest Review
“His subjects are trees and brush, hired help, fences, soil, armadillos and other wildlife, flood and drought, local history, sheep and goats . . . and they come to us reshaped and reenlivened by his agreeably individual (and sometimes cranky) notions.” --The New Yorker
About the Author
JOHN GRAVES grew up in Fort Worth, graduated from Rice University, and received his M.A. in English from Columbia University. During World War II as a marine, he saw action in the Pacific and was wounded at Saipan. He taught briefly at the University of Texas in Austin, leaving to become a freelance writer, traveling to exotic places_Majorca and Tenerife, Spain; New York City; and New Mexico. In the late 1950s Graves returned to Texas, taught for a time at Texas Christian University, and purchased Hard Scrabble, the four hundred acres in Somervell County near Glen Rose where he has worked both as a farmer and a writer ever since. His stories and articles have appeared in such venues as The New Yorker, Town and Country, The Atlantic, Holiday, American Heritage, and Esquire. His best known work, Goodbye to a River, a personal and historical book based on an autumn canoe trip down a part of the Brazos about to be radically altered, was published by Knopf in 1960 and has been in print ever since. In 1980 Knopf brought out From a Limestone Ledge (now available from SMU Press), a collection of personal essays. In 2000, John Graves and the Making of Goodbye to a River: Selected Letters, 1957_60 (now available from SMU Press) came out to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the publication of Goodbye to a River. Graves is a past president, senior member, and fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters, which honored him with the Carr P. Collins Award for both Goodbye to a River and Hard Scrabble.