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September 18 , 2008

Wanderer Springs

A Novel


Wanderer Springs is a dying town in Northwest Texas, one of that string of dusty towns left to wither away when the highway from Fort Worth to Amarillo bypassed them. For travelers on that highway, the harsh and unforgiving countryside passes as no more than a blur. For Will Callaghan, that country and the town of Wanderer Springs are carved into memory, indelible in their clarity.
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Called home from San Antonio by a funeral, Will begins a journey, both physical and imaginative, that crosses not only geographic and cultural boundaries but darts back and forth in time, mixing stories of the town's frontier past with episodes of Will's high school days. In sometimes hilarious and sometimes painful detail, Will relives the football game where he dropped the pass that lost the championship for Wanderer Springs forever, the time he got his gum stuck in his girlfriend's hair, the strangely distant but close relationship of a motherless boy and his taciturn father. Equally clear are the tales from the past – the Turrill family's desperate wagon ride to find a doctor for their daughter, dying of appendicitus, or Lulu Byars who danced and danced in town and caught pneumonia riding back to her dugout in a norther. Wanderer Springs said she died of frivolity.

Through it all, the clear voice of Will Callaghan, a good old boy grown into an intellectual, gives meaning to the chaos, seeks sense out of the past, recognizes our inextricable link to the past.

Wanderer Springs is a wonderfully witty, sensitive novel that will stand out as one of the more serious, thoughtful, and memorable novels to come out of recent Texas writing.
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