Wednesday
October
22
2014
7:21 pm
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 

Check out our archive of Dining Guides - Yum!

‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is an epic story
August 02, 2014, 05:00 AM By Bruce Desilva The

Author James Lee Burke is a descendant of tough Texas lawmen. In fact, his maternal great-grandfather once tangled with some of the West’s most notorious gunslingers.

Although Burke is most famous for hard-boiled crime novels featuring Louisiana lawman Dave Robicheaux, he has written seven fine novels inspired by the Hollan side of his family, changing the surname to Holland when he introduced Hackberry Holland, a hard-drinking lawyer, in “Lay Down My Sword and Shield” in 1971.

In “Wayfaring Stranger,” he introduces another member of the family, Weldon Avery Holland. When we first meet him, it’s 1934, and Weldon, a teenager, is living on a hardscrabble Texas farm with his mentally ill mother and his grumpy grandfather, the man who had fought the likes of John Wesley Hardin, Bill Dalton and Pancho Villa. But now, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker wander into their lives, hiding out on the edge of the Holland property between bank robberies. Unsure if they are evil thugs or the avenging angels Depression-era popular culture made them out to be, Weldon is haunted by the encounter.

But later, as a second lieutenant, Weldon and his sergeant, Hershel Pine, discover what true evil is when a Waffen SS Tiger tank nearly takes their lives. Separated from their unit, they accidentally wander into an abandoned Nazi death camp where Weldon saves a young woman named Rosita Lowenstein, who eventually agrees to be his wife.

After the war, Weldon and Hershel return to Texas where they go into business together, building pipelines for the booming oil business. But rich and politically well-connected Texans are eager to destroy their business and acquire the unique welding process they have patented.

The two friends want to believe they left evil behind in Europe, but they soon discover that anti-Semitism is not foreign to American soil, and that rampant greed is just another form of evil.

The forces arrayed against Weldon and Hershel bear down on them with all the force of a freight train, tearing at their marriages, threatening them with prison and even attempting to take their lives.

The epic story Burke has fashioned is thick with tension to the very end. His characters, both heroes and villains, are superbly well drawn, and as in every Burke novel, the poetic descriptions of both urban and country settings bring Texas to life on the page.

Burke’s last three novels, “Light of the World,” ‘’Creole Belle” and “Feast Day of Fools,” were arguably his best. “Wayfaring Stranger” joins them as one of his most powerful and ambitious novels to date.

 

 

Tags: weldon, their, texas, burke, holland, novels,


Other stories from today:

Starz’s ‘Outlander’ brings novels to life vibrantly
Foothill troupe stages musical classic, ‘South Pacific’
‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is an epic story
 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What do you think of the proposal to charge a toll for walkers and bikers on the Golden Gate Bridge?

It's good, why should they get to cross it free?
Don't care
A terrible idea
What's next? Charging us to look at it?

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Giants fans be wary, man robbed of World Series tickets worth $1,000
With the World Series hot on San Francisco Giants’ fans minds, police are reminding people to be w..
Two dead in shooting attack at Canada's Parliament
OTTAWA, Ontario — A gunman with a scarf over his face shot to death a Canadian soldier standin..
US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations
WASHINGTON — Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that ev..
Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles
DETROIT — The U.S. government is telling 3 million more car owners to get their air bags repaired ..
Turkish president says US airdrop to Kurds in Kobani a mistake
ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the U.S. made a mistake in airdropping..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Bruno newspaper