Harold Stevens is twelve years old, heading hell-bent for thirteen, away from the comfort of his mother's care to the realities of the world beyond. Grandfather would gladly initiate him into the world's ways, but his lessons are more prattle than practical. Harold's older friends dare him into danger and expose him to newand not always edifyingexperiences. But his real mentor is C.K., the twenty-three-year-old black hired hand on his father's farm.
Together they fish for the legendary catfish down at the local pond, dare bulls, pick gage from among the wild cactus, and carefully dry it and store it for future use. C.K. takes Harold with him when he run errands in town, and brings him into the mysterious black world beyond the railroad tracks. There Harold learns of C.K.'s big brother, "Big Nail" Emmet, doing time for murder, and of Big Nail's wife, Cora Lee. There is a fraying bond between the two brothers that Harold senses but cannot really fathom. Until one day the two brothers meet in a macabre, ritualistic dance of death.
Sensitive, understated, Texas Summer evokes a time and place with the same sensitivity one finds in Hemingway's Nick Adams stories.
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