Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyThis new edition of Perry's 1939 novel makes available to a new generation one of the most important works of the Great Depression. (Perry went on to receive a 1941 National Book Award for Hold Autumn in Your Hand .) The story centers on three hoboes, Jimmy, Mike and Eddie, dispossessed drifters in the Southwest. Jimmy is the spiritual and intellectual leader of the trio. Eddie, who narrates, and Mike are less bright but no less good-hearted; they adore Jimmy and will beg and steal for him. In a pinch, they'll even work so he can remain idle. The trio's fortunes turn upward when a Texas freight train on which they have ``borrowed'' a ride hits another hobo and kills him. Jimmy pretends to be the man's brother, and the group takes over his comfortable camp, complete with fishing trot lines teeming with fish they can sell and a nearby farm that seems just plain eager to share its produce. The wildly comic novel follows their triumphs and mishaps with a singular verve, but there is much to shock modern sensibilities. Race relations have changed considerably since the book was written: the boys ``inherit'' a black African named only Oof. There is also a fair amount of sexually explicit material. On the other hand, as the foreword makes clear, some passages were considered too shocking at the time of the original publication; scenes skewering the hypocrisy of organized religion were deleted. One of these, an entire chapter dealing with a sacrilegious sermon preached by Jimmy, has been restored in the current edition. Perry died in 1956. This volume is #21 in the TCU Press Texas Tradition series. (Apr.)
Library JournalDebuting in 1939, this was the first published novel by Perry, who, two years later, won the first National Book Award for his follow-up novel, Hold Autumn in Your Hand. The plot follows Jimmy, Mike, and Eddie, three hard-luck characters who take to riding the rails in Depression-era America.
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