Monday, October 05, 2009

Review of The General and Monaville, Texas by Joe G. Bax
Review by K. K. Searle

Wow! I really enjoyed this one! If you ever wondered what film writer/director Quentin Tarantino would do with a movie about post Civil War Reconstruction Texas, Joe G. Bax gives us a pretty good idea in his novel The General and Monaville, Texas.

The book is film noir through and through, but you don’t begin to figure that out until near the end of the book. Even the book's dust jacket makes no sense until the end of the book. The book reads like a screen play right down to the last close up shot at the end of the movie, ...uh book.

The book is historical fiction in that it does give the reader a much clearer understanding of the social changes that occurred in the South during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. It is a picture that the reader may never have gotten in their American History classes. I had never really connected all these dots before myself until reading The General and Monaville, Texas.

Beyond that the book is almost completely fiction. Don’t look for General George Custer in Waller County at Liendo Plantation. He’s not in the book. Don’t look for anything approaching historical fiction about Waller County, Texas. Waller County is not in the book. Bax borrows the name of the town of Monaville, Texas and the Brazos River Bottoms and its all fiction after that right down to the courthouse in Monaville. Or is it?

We will just have to wonder if Joe G. Bax knew anything about Texas founding father, Edwin Waller, or not.

Buy the book! Read the book! Enjoy the book!

Quentin make the movie!
Photograph: Cover of The General and Monaville, Texas; Courtesy of Emerald Book Company, Austin, Texas.

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