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Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Patch of Land Paperback – January, 1984
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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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
His outlook on life and his land provides an easy read for anyone wanting to read about rural Texas. Graves did not like to write about human relationships or drama that is usually found in novels, he preferred to write about his land, he said. He wrote what he knew.
Graves was popular in his day, his meandering writing style was different and caught on. He is considered an honest writer, homespun and down to earth. He reminded me of my grandfather although my grandfather had more sense of humor and irony.
Graves died at age 92 at Glen Rose, Texas in July 2013.
He is considered among the best Texas writers.
Already armed with a deep appreciation of Nature, he was able to slowly coax renewed vigor into this misused patch of land through his gentle nurturing of it.
The book is full of his personal adventurers such as stone masonry, animal husbandry, carpentry, and all the hazards inherent in farm life. All presented without regret, with humor and modesty. Inevitably he laments the encroachment of more urban activities as they threaten his bucolic existence. Yet he speaks of the duality of his own urban interactions and compares them to the realities of his rural lifestyle.
This book to me was as much about the man John Graves as it is about his subject, "Hard Scrabble". Tough and complex, like his Patch of Land, he personifies the best Texas has to offer.