Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Remembering Elmer Kelton

An old friend has passed. I met Elmer when I was fresh out of college, working on Western novels at Doubleday. He was smart and fun and a hell of a writer. I was happy when I arrived at RD to learn that we were using a lot of his work here, and he was very popular with our readers. The Washington Post has an excellent obituary.

WP: Unlike many writers of formula westerns over the years, Elmer Kelton avoided the lure of sagebrush nostalgia and the easy indulgence of Old West cliche. Nobody gets shot in a Kelton novel -- which are often set in the modern West -- and his cowboys and ranchers are not mythic heroes on horseback. "I can't write about heroes 7 feet tall and invincible," Mr. Kelton liked to say. "I write about people 5-foot-8 and nervous." More...

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