Goodnight, Texas by William Cobb, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Goodnight, Texas

Goodnight, Texas

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by William Cobb
     
 

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The town of Goodnight by the Sea lies on a peninsula between two bays, Red Moon and Humosa, and for years its people have struggled to get by, profiting on its shrimping industry, making a few bucks from tourism, especially as a winter retreat for visitors from the Great Lakes. All that is about to change. The shrimping industry is in a slump. The off-shore oil fields

Overview

The town of Goodnight by the Sea lies on a peninsula between two bays, Red Moon and Humosa, and for years its people have struggled to get by, profiting on its shrimping industry, making a few bucks from tourism, especially as a winter retreat for visitors from the Great Lakes. All that is about to change. The shrimping industry is in a slump. The off-shore oil fields are played out. Global warming is causing the sea levels to rise, putting the vacation homes and condos at risk of catastrophic storms. When Gabriel Perez, a local shrimper, gets laid off, he looks for someone to blame. The rich tourists are an easy target for his job woes, but that's not his only problem: He also manages to lose his girlfriend, Una Vu, a Vietnamese-American waitress, who is disgusted with both the smallness of her life and Gabriel's petty anger. Gabriel blames Falk Powell, a teenage co-worker of Una's, for stealing her heart.

Meanwhile Falk gets credit for discovering and photographing a giant fish beached on the shore, a huge creature that has swallowed a horse. Falk's employer, the Russian émigré and entrepeneur Gusef Smurov, has the giant fish taxidermied and mounted on the roof of his restaurant, The Black Tooth Café, and makes it into a tourist attraction. But before he can enjoy its benefits, a devastating hurricane hits Goodnight. A storm surge swamps the coastline, catching many off-guard. By the end, Gabriel has his vengeance, but the people of Goodnight are not defeated.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Goodnight by the Sea, Tex. (not to be confused with Goodnight in the Plains, 600 miles away), is a dying gulf coast town where global warming and international trade have made the once-reliable vocation of shrimping unprofitable. Alligators run amok while the West Nile virus picks off the elderly. When Russian restaurant owner Gusef learns a gigantic and thought-to-be-extinct zebra fish has beached itself nearby (replete with a dead horse in its belly), he dispatches his good-natured juvenile delinquent fry cook Falk to photograph it. As Gusef concocts schemes to capitalize on the dead fish, a hurricane brews in the gulf, portending possible doom for the town. The characters aren't particularly unique, but Cobb manages to breathe tragicomic life into them: Una, Falk's co-worker who wants more than Goodnight has to offer; Falk's adolescent cousin Leesha, who falls for Una's ex-boyfriend, Gabriel, the drunken bad boy turned driver's-ed instructor who in turn has it in for Falk. Though Cobb (The Fire Eaters) sometimes strives too hard for colloquial legitimacy ("nowadays you'd be lucky to catch a gafftop catfish a pound"), he expertly exploits the claustrophobic and incestuous atmosphere of smalltown Texas. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A prehistorically colossal zebra fish with a half-swallowed dead pony protruding from its mouth washes up on the shores of Goodnight, TX. To the wise and wizened locals, this offering from the sea is a bad sign. And, in fact, bad things have already started happening. The fishermen of Goodnight have lost their jobs owing to overfishing, the weather has turned unseasonably warm, and there is an abundance of disease-carrying mosquitoes. The lives of the townsfolk don't offer much more reason to hope. Falk, the orphaned teenager who works as a cook at the Black Tooth Cafe, nurtures an impossible love for the beautiful waitress, Una, who lives in a trailer with her overbearing mother and dreams of leaving Goodnight. Gabriel, her violent boyfriend, loses his shrimping job and becomes a predatory school bus driver, while Gusef, the Russian owner of the cafe, dispenses foreboding advice and faces the possible loss of his business. Cobb (The Fire Eaters) deals with the underlying issues of the destructiveness of nature and the ultimate redemption of humankind. Superbly written, dark and amusing, Cobb's portrait of this small town on the edge of disaster will stay with one long after the last page is turned. Highly recommended.-Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Law Lib., Malibu, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“It’s a gratifying thing to see a writer put warmth, lyricism, love of place, and a deeply observant naturalism to use as beautifully as William Cobb does in Goodnight, Texas. The result, for me anyway, was to a renewed love of the things and people of this world—a working definition of a wonderful book.”
—George Saunders

“Cobb (The Fire Eaters) deals with the underlying issues of the destructiveness of nature and the
ultimate redemption of humankind. Superbly written, dark and amusing, Cobb’s portrait of this small town on the edge of disaster will stay with one long after the last page is turned. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal, starred review & Editor’s Pick

“…delightful …oblique…. Global warming (and greedy overharvesting) have killed off the shrimp fishery, and the heating of the planet, along with a menacing hurricane, serves as anxious backdrops to Cobb's story…. The pages turn quickly …. But the really significant climax is atmospheric… [and] Cobb’s prose reaches new levels….” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Michael Chabon joined Milosz over my shoulder as I read …. Goodnight, Texas, isn’t a novel about addressing social injustice or stopping environmental degradation. It’s a tribute to that most American of qualities— pragmatism. In Cobb’s novel as in life, it is often the pragmatists—dreamers willing to work with the materials they’re given— who survive the upheaval and rebuild...”—San Antonio Current

“I don’t know where William J. Cobb hangs out, but wherever that is he doesn’t miss much. GOODNIGHT, TEXAS is full of sharply drawn, firmly created characters who come vibrantly alive in a ramshackle fishing village, with small, salty waves, a wide, watery vista, and a magically huge fish rotting on the shore. Cobb writes with surprising and wonderful insight into all sorts of folks, with concision and grace, in a voice rich with compassion, but no mush at all.”
—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone

“Cobb’s engaging plot is complemented by his truly artistic descriptive and narrative style. . . authentic and meaningful. Cobb . . . brings his setting to life, with visual, auditory, and olfactory details.…[and] subtle character portrayals…. the author manages to connect his audience with every character, interweaving their separate, compelling stories carefully throughout…as they place faith not in supreme beings, but in the strength of humanity.”
–Austin Chronicle

“Goodnight, Texas—a not-to-be-missed story of remarkable beauty and power—showcases fascinating characters who face devastation and hopelessness in the midst of this divine comedy, which overflows with the bittersweet joys of living and loving.…Poignant and memorable… a luminous tale of buoyancy and endurance, and it ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever pondered the indifferent cruelty of cosmic irony, and for anyone who has ever faced lifechanging choices—or, perhaps more accurately, the illusion of such choices.”—Bookpage

“Quirky and likable...charming.”—Texas Monthly

“… I found myself turning the pages as fast as I could read them…. The style of writing in the scenes of the hurricane and its immediate aftermath is lean and tight.… Cobb had me solidly hooked…. The conclusion of the novel is even more satisfying, as the various conflicts are resolved in ways that go perfectly with the characters Cobb has created.”—Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

“[A] gem of novel set in a coastal Texas town during the days before and after a monster hurricane plows through the Gulf of Mexico. Finished just prior to the Katrina disaster, it's filled with quirky characters whose lives are changed unalterably by the storm….With a brilliant flair for writing in all the different dialects found in Goodnight, and a penchant for finding comedy in the routine obstacles to daily living faced by the downtrodden local citizenry, William J. Cobb has managed to assemble a cast of characters as hopeless, yet sympathetic as any you're likely to run across short of Steinbeck's Cannery Row.”—The Nougat Magazine (KY)

“There is a waspish humor that floats through Goodnight, Texas so that the simple story of a Gulf coast fishing village takes on an elegance as well…Cobb is not only a jeweler of phrasing and plotting, he knows how to give life to our characters.”—RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, and the Humanities, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932961447
Publisher:
Unbridled Books
Publication date:
10/04/2007
Edition description:
11171 Unbridled
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

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Goodnight, Texas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The Texas gulf town of Goodnight by the Sea, Texas is dying as the once profitable shrimping industry has tottered towards extinction due to the unfair global market and the destruction of the natural habitat by warmer temperatures. Former shrimper Gabriel Perez teaches driver¿s-ed and is now girlfriendless as Una Vu, a waitress, dumped him apparently for a fry cook Falk Powell.----------------- Russian restaurateur Gusef learns that an alleged extinct zebra fish has landed on the nearby beach with a dead horse inside its stomach. He wants to use the fish as bait to bring in some new customers. He sends his fry cook Falk to at least photograph the gigantic corpse while he works on ways to make money off the caucus before the hurricane that is coming blows it back out to sea at a time when Gabriel plans to harm his teenage rival.------------- Readers will appreciate this look at a dying small Texas town with no future as events well beyond their control has destroyed their livelihood, aspirations, and future. The characters are a solid cast who make for a fine ensemble look at no tomorrow (except for the hustling Gusef) at least here with the hurricane symbolizing the end. Fans of strong character studies will want to visit GOODNIGHT, TEXAS where denial battles reality as hope is abandoned there.------------- Harriet Klausner