Saturday, 21 July 2012
Another Part of the House
Author: Winston M. Estes
Year of publication: 1970
Inner cover blurb: '"Good times are just around the corner," the catch phrase of the Depression years, offered the promise of better days which never seemed to come. And yet the best days of all, the days of a family bound together by love regardless of adversity - these are the days portrayed in this vital and penetrating novel of family life in the Texas Panhandle in the 1930's.
Another Part of the House is told through the eyes of ten-year-old Larry Morrison, who is aware that the times are troubled but doesn't know why. He understands conditions only insofar as they affect him and his family. To him, the Depression, the drought, the dust, and, most of all, death are potential destroyers of the only real security a child knows - his home.
"Stealing and dying," Larry observes, "both of these terrible things happened in our own family right under my very nose, and here I was still living, eating, sleeping, playing, breathing and walking around on two legs."
Here, too, are the other members of Larry's family, living through happy times as well as hardship in the pages of this moving story. Written with compassion and understanding and an undeniable sense of truth, Another Part of the House is a warmhearted evocation of a vanished way of life. The wonder of its telling lies in the author's ability to transform the humor and sadness of everyday events into an affirmative, unforgettable narrative.'
Quick flick reveals: "I found Another Part of the House fascinating and enjoyed it enormously," said P.G. Wodehouse of this book, which we can safely assume means he didn't read it. Estes seems pretty much lost to history, perhaps because his characters 'exclaim' 'agree' and 'command', rather than just 'say' things in the Elmore Leonard-approved style that marks the barriers of good taste right now. Still, looks pretty interesting, although probably not as good as A Garden of Sand by Earl Thompson.
Random paragraph: 'I couldn't get interested in yellow boxcars. My attention was nailed by the swarms of men perched in boxcar doors and atop flatbeds like so many blackbirds. While Ozell licked his forefinger and stamped the palm of his hand for good luck - one time each per yellow boxcar - I ticked off forty-eight men aboard the freight train before I lost count.'