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Goodnight Texas [Paperback]

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Item description for Goodnight Texas by William J. Cobb...

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 migr and entrepeneur Gusef Smurov, has the giant fish taxidermied and mounted on the roof of his restaurant, The Black Tooth Caf, 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.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   287
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 29, 2007
Publisher   Unbridled Books
ISBN  1932961445  
ISBN13  9781932961447  

Availability  0 units.

More About William J. Cobb

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William J. Cobb is the author of a previous novel, The Fire Eaters, and a book of stories, The White Tattoo. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and in many other journals. He has received numerous awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, the Sandstone Prize, and an AWP Award for the Novel. He was raised in Texas, and currently lives in Pennsylvania and Colorado. He directs the writing program at Penn State.

William J. Cobb was born in 1957.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

Reviews - What do customers think about Goodnight Texas?

A look at one small town.  Aug 1, 2007
How many of us grew up in a small town similar to that, where tourist dollars and a few local businessmen were what kept the local economy going? I enjoyed the book in the fact that it provided hope for some of the seemingly hopeless, youth of Goodnight. Gusef was a great character, as well as Falk who seemed to have a good head on his shoulders. It's not one of the joyful, light stories that leaves you smiling when you finish, but more like a semi-realistic look at a few people that in the end, you hope everything works out for them.
Well written but disappointed  Jun 26, 2007
Mr Cobb who writes in a style unlike Jack London, carried the story line through three quarters of the book. He however failed the ending. What happens to the charecters at the end? Did Gusef's restaurant reopen? Did Una and Faulk go off into the sunset? What happened to Leesha and Gabrial, or did he never come back to Goodnight. It's as though he got tired of writing the book and just ended the story. Though his description of the characters were well written,the ending left you with unanswered questions. 2 1/2 stars!
(3.5) "A horse be washin' up dead in the mouth of a fish, now that's a foretellin'."  Oct 10, 2006

Goodnight, Texas, on the vulnerable Gulf Coast, is home to a variety of eccentrics, regulars and snowbirds that cling to a fading future in a once productive fishing town, now tapped out and fading, over-fished and left to die, littered with the remnants of nowhere lives and nonspecific discontent: "This was the year the light of Goodnight was fading." Faced with a ravaged economy and the threat of an incipient hurricane, the residents of Goodnight plod through the days, many oblivious by choice, stubborn and cranky from the hardships they have come to expect.

Peopled with extreme characters, Goodnight is a catchall for the hopeless, the discontented and a handful of terminal optimists, like the Russian owner of the Black Tooth Café, Gusef. Inside the Café, a small drama unfolds, a flirtation-cum-romance between Falk Powell, a seventeen-year-old high school dropout and Una, a Vietnamese-Hispanic beauty a few years older: "One can imagine she must have broken many hearts, men turned to fish and left to swim sadly beneath the pier lights, hoping to catch a glimpse of her." Until recently, Una was in an unsatisfying relationship with Gabriel Perez, a newly-unemployed fisherman with a bad temper, a predilection for drunkenness and an urge for revenge against those he believes have wronged him. Then there are the crusty old salts who have seen everything, café habitués who render judgment on a daily basis with the wink of an eye.

Throw in a few wealthy tourists to rub salt in the depressed-economic wound, dead mammals poisoned by their natural habitat and a hurricane on the horizon and the recipe for disaster is complete. But for this odd collection of eccentrics, misfortune comes bearing gifts, opportunities for change and growth that were impossible until nature's devastation becomes an object of national obsession, the "forgotten America", bringing flocks of sightseers and rebuilding funds. The writing surpasses the plot, the author's prose a vivid rendering of a Gulf Coast in decline, but still suffused with nature's beauty; unfortunately, the story fails to stimulate the imagination as much as the images. Still, Cobb has written of a slice of humanity, a ribald collection of individuals who coexist by virtue of their tolerance, generosity and affection for one another, their broken dreams redeemed by the spirit of survival. Luan Gaines/2006.

dying small Texas town   Oct 7, 2006
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 have 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

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