January 11, 2012
DALLAS (SMU) - Steplings: A Novel (TCU Press, 2011) is the latest novel by SMU Department of English Dedman Family Distinguished Professor C.W. Smith.
It features as its main character, Jason Sanborn, who finds himself lost after dropping out of high school two months shy of graduation.
When his mother died two years before, his father, 15 years sober, fell off the wagon briefly, but he has since met a new wife, Lily, in AA. Lily brings a daughter into the house. Emily is an 11-year-old know-it-all whose existence irritates Jason. And when she forces Jason to let her join him on a runaway’s trip to Austin, it leads to a number of big surprises.
Kirkus Reviews praised the book as being “rich in psychological insight and lit by occasional flashes of humor,” while The San Antonio Express-News notes that “It’s a wonderful book for families and should be required reading for teens…” Dallas Morning News book critic Joy Tipping adds that “Texas novelist C.W. Smith has received just about every literary award the state and region bestow, and his latest work, the sprightly and wise Steplings, will no doubt add to his reputation as a Lone Star star.”
Smith is also the author of the novels Thin Men of Haddam, Country Music, The Vestal Virgin Room, Buffalo Nickel, Hunter's Trap, Understanding Women, Gabriel's Eye, and Purple Hearts.
He has published a story collection - Letters From the Horse Latitudes - and a memoir, Uncle Dad. His stories and essays have appeared in many national publications, including Esquire, Mademoiselle, The Soutwest Review, American Short Fiction, the Cimarron Review, Quartet, and the Missouri Review.
Last spring, Smith received the 2011 Lon Tinkle Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, the state’s oldest literary organization, recognizing him for sustained excellence in a literary career.
He also has received numerous other awards, including the Jesse H. Jones Award, "Best Novel" from the Southwestern Library Association, "Outstanding Book About the Southwest" from the Border Regional Library Association, and the Kay Catarulla Award for Best Short Story.
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