From the Publisher
In this exquisitely rendered memoir set on the high plains of
Texas, Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell transforms into art what
it is like to come of age in a particular time and place. A
Strong West Wind begins in the 1950s in the wilds of the
Texas Panhandle-a place of both boredom and beauty, its flat
horizons broken only by oil derricks, grain elevators, and church
steeples. Its story belongs to a girl who grew up surrounded by
dust storms and cattle ranches and summer lightning, who took
refuge from the vastness of the land and the ever-present wind by
retreating into books. What she found there, from renegade women to
men who lit out for the territory, turned out to offer a blueprint
for her own future. Caldwell would grow up to become a writer, but
first she would have to fall in love with a man who was every
mother's nightmare, live through the anguish and fire of the
Vietnam years, and defy the father she adored, who had served as a
master sergeant in the Second World War.
A Strong West Wind is a memoir of culture and
history-of fathers and daughters, of two world wars and the
passionate rebellions of the sixties. But it is also about the
mythology of place and the evolution of a sensibility: about how
literature can shape and even anticipate a life.
Caldwell possesses the extraordinary ability to illuminate the
desires, stories, and lives of ordinary people. Written with
humanity, urgency, and beautiful restraint, A Strong West
Wind is a magical and unforgettable book, destined to
become an American classic.
From the Hardcover edition.