This is by far one of the best books I've read this year--- maybe ever. The stories are touching yet well-written and without hokiness. This is chick lit without the offensive stereotype of a shopaholic or desperate singleton. A wonderful, wonderful book.
I'm not a big short story fan, but I really liked this. These pieces are almost poetic, more like snapshots of significant moments and how they felt than complete stories. I'll be looking for more by Pam Houston.
From Publishers Weekly
A good man is hard to find, but a good cowboy practically impossible. At least that's what the women in this accomplished, witty and engrossing debut short-story collection discover when they fall 10-gallon-hat-over-spurs for the kind of men who go in for roping cattle, not for romance. In "Selway," among the most gripping of these 12 tales, an intrepid young woman rafts through treacherous white water to keep up with her boyfriend, who is as untamed as the river that nearly kills them. Accompanying Boone ("a hunter of the everything-has-to-be-hard-and-painful-to-be-good variety") through the Alaskan wilderness during sheep hunting season, the unnamed narrator of "Dall" learns about male camaraderie, violence and herself. The cowboy enthusiast in the title story, listening to country music, observes, "The men in the songs were all either brutal or inexpressive. . . . The women were victims, every one." But the women featured here aren't victims: they are smart, funny and likable. A gifted storyteller and a fine writer, Houston brings insight and an original perspective to the heavily trafficked gender divide. Literary Guild selection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Houston, whose short stories have appeared in such periodicals as Mirabella and Mademoiselle , now has her first collection, the highlights of which are "How To Talk to a Hunter," a story selected for inclusion in The Best American Short Stories, 1990 ( LJ 10/1/90), and "Selway." Though these two stand out, the collection as a whole showcases a fresh, original, strong feminine voice. Houston is almost Hemingway-esque in her spare prose, yet richly eloquent in her descriptions of the Western sensibility. "How To Talk to a Hunter" oozes sensuality and masculinity, while at the same time getting inside the feminine mind in love with a man of few words. Likewise, "Selway" brilliantly shows what the experience of loving an adventurer is like. Houston is a part-time guide in Alaska. This is a strong woman who is wise and cynical but refreshingly optimistic. Her view of man-woman relationships is realistic: wise women get involved with "cowboys" they should know better, but they don't. Recommended.