Hard Scrabble: Observations on a Patch of Land (Paperback)
“A kind of homemade book—imperfect like a handmade thing, a prize. It’s a galloping, spontaneous book, on occasion within whooping distance of that greatest and sweetest of country books, Ivan Turgenev’s A Sportsman’s Notebook.” —Edward Hoagland, New York Times Book Review
“His subjects are trees and brush, hired help, fences, soil, armadillos and other wildlife, flood and drought, local history, sheep and goats . . . and they come to us reshaped and reenlivened by his agreeably individual (and sometimes cranky) notions.” —New Yorker
“If Goodbye to a River was in some sense Graves’s Odyssey, this book is his [version of Hesiod’s] Works and Days. It is partly a book about work, partly a book about nature, but mostly a book about belonging. In the end John Graves has learned to belong to his patch of land so thoroughly that at moments he can sense in himself a unity with medieval peasants and Sumerian farmers, working with their fields by the Tigris.” —Larry McMurtry, Washington Post Book World
“Hard Scrabble is hard pastoral of the kind we have learned to recognize in Wordsworth, Frost, Hemingway, and Faulkner. It celebrates life in accommodation with a piece of the ‘given’ creation, a recalcitrant four hundred or so acres of Texas cedar brake, old field, and creek bottom, which will require of any genuine resident all the character he can muster.” —Southwest Review
About the Author
A meticulous observer of the natural world and an equally precise crafter of the written word, John Graves (1920–2013) is renowned for his Brazos Trilogy—Goodbye to a River, Hard Scrabble, and From a Limestone Ledge. He is widely acknowledged as Texas’s most beloved writer.