"I and Claudie" is a delightful and captivating novel about a couple of bungling but good-hearted con men who (barely) make their way across Texas over a two-year period in the 1930s. Their adventures, Anderson said, were in no sense autobiographical, but sometimes I am sorry they are not. The charming con men outwit lumbermen, oil men, and others, but are sometimes the victims themselves. Clint Hightower (the I in the title) is a smooth- talking maker of deals; Claudie Hughes, all 6'6" of him, is his slower-of-mind sidekick who does all the real work and, often unwittingly, saves the day. The reader is both entertained and informed by the book. We learn much about Texas and Texans of the period. We learn about hurricanes along the coast, oil leasing and lumbering in East Texas, buried treasure in West Texas, the state fair in Dallas, the stockyards in Forth Worth, farming along the Brazos River, and more. The stories that make up the novel have been compared in style to O. Henrys classic tales. Several of them appeared in the venerable "Atlantic Monthly" before the book was published in 1951. It is one of A.C. Greens all time top 50. "I and Claudie" is a delightful book.
One or two latter-day critics have termed it too ingenuous for our sophisticated age. Don't believe them. 'Clint Hightower would be right at home today in many an executive suite, with Claudie...waiting to take the fall for him' - A. C. Greene, "The Fifty Best Books on Texas".
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