A Gent From Bear Creek (Howard, R., E., 1934, 1937)

I tried. Not hard, I guess, but I still tried to read Howard's A Gent From Bear Creek. After one and a half chapter, I came to a conclusion, that it just wasn't a tale for me. The main reason for me abandoning it was the language, as it's written as a first person narrative of an unschooled Nevadan hillbilly, who writes with a thick, rustic dialect. Now I grant that there were some amusing bits on those pages I read, but as a whole, it felt too much of a struggle to read through the comedic misadventures of this young lad aiming to impress the gal of his dreams.

Yes, it is a comedy. Not really a style I know Howard for and definitely written in a very uncharacteristic manner from his side. I'm guessing the overly thick dialect was a direct way of making the narrative feel even more comedic, but personally, for me, it was a tad too much, especially because there's just so many words in there that I don't really understand, even in the given context.

So, what's it all about then? As I said, it's a tale of a hillbilly named Breckenridge Elkins, who comes out almost like a parody of Howard's own manly characters, who live in a harsh world, trusting only in the might of their own hands. Breckenridge is more good natured, yet also strong and stubborn.

His tale begins, when he goes to see the woman he loves, Glory, but ends up getting her mad in grounds of giving a beating to her dad and brothers. Glory promises to never lay her eyes on him again unless Breck makes something of himself, so this leads him and his mule to series of misadventures, when he's trying to make his mark in the world.

Originally the stories presented in A Gent From Bear Creek were published as short stories. As they were popular on their day, Howard edited them together in order to make a book out them, but he never did see the collected edition in published form, as that came out a year after his suicide.

And that's that. I reckon. Not really my kind of a thing. There's also a webcomic adaptation of one of the tales, Mountain Man, by Gary Chaloner.

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