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The Smiling Country

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  194 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"The Smiling Country is about a footloose puncher who finds out the hard way that cowboys don't remain young forever and that the inevitable wear and tear of a rugged life forces changes and compromises on the willing and unwilling alike."— Elmer Kelton

Hewey Calloway did not know how old he was without stopping to figure, and that distracted his attention from matters of r
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Forge Books (first published January 1st 1998)
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Apr 28, 2010 Waven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, western
This is the final chapter of the tale of Hewey Calloway - the stubborn cowboy who stole hearts in Kelton's The Good Old Boys - but can be read as a quality, stand-alone book. The story opens four years down the road from The Good Old Boys, with Hewey beginning to experience symptoms of "old age" and trying desperately to ignore them, while still seeking the ideal of a West he was born too late to see. He rides with Skip, a young farmer-turned-cowhand eerily similar to Hewey in his younger days. ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Megargee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am an Elmer Kelton fan, so when I dashed into the library I headed for the "K" section. As usual Kelton did not disappoint. However, I suspect I would have enjoyed The Smiling Country even more if I had previously read The Good Old Boys and become acquainted with the characters.
I am not familiar with the West Texas of 1910 but I did live in Arizona in 1947 and can share
Hewey's nostalgia about being able to ride across unfenced open land. The then-small hamlet of Scottsdale had one paved bl
Oct 20, 2014 Chrisl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-usa, texas, 1990s
copied and pasted from "KIRKUS REVIEW

Western storyteller Kelton (Cloudy in the West, 1997, etc.) returns for his fortieth-plus novel, a sequel to 1978’s The Good Old Boys that again features hang-loose Hewey Calloway, circa 1910, as his lovable old —Smiling Country— of West Texas fades into the automobile age. We first meet Hewey chasing a longhorn bull on the loose, an animal that symbolizes the breed of overmuscled, hardscrabble beasts soon to be phased out of beef production. In these animals
There are at least two Elmer Kelton statues in San Angelo, celebrating this long-time San Angeloan, local journalist-editor, and Western writer. The Smiling Country is a later book of his--Kirkus calls it his "fortieth-plus," as if they've lost count--and it follows a recurring character of Kelton's, aging cowboy Hewey Calloway.

Calloway's aging out of the cowpuncher demographic, but is refusing to settle down in the nice middle management position of ranch foreman. On top of that, his young neph
Dec 19, 2012 MomToKippy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
Hmm I love cowboys, horses, westerns, historical fiction etc etc. I don't quite understand the rave reviews for this book. I have never read Kelton before. The writing is very simplistic - which I actually like but overall this story while pleasant is just a bit too boring. And I don't ask for much. I prefer stories with minimal violence and that are not overtly erotic. It takes a special writer to engage the reader without relying on sex/violence. But Kelton is just a little too droll for me. I ...more
Jeff Anderson
Sep 02, 2013 Jeff Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elmer Kelton is a different kind of Western writer. He is probably much closer to reality than many other writers who talk about cowboys who always packed a gun and used it several times a day. I really enjoyed his "The Time it Never Rained" which made me realize why Ezra Taft Benson who was Secretary of Agriculture under Eisenhower was so worried about socialism in America. This particular book takes up the story of Hewey Calloway four years after the narrative stopped in his "The Good Old Boys ...more
Rodney Haydon
Apr 26, 2015 Rodney Haydon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now that I have read all three of the Hewey Calloway series of books, I would recommend that people read them, not chronologically but in the order that they were written, starting with the Good Old Boys, moving to The Smiling Country, then reading the prequel Six Bits a Day.
I enjoy that Elmer Kelton picks the sunset of the days of the cowboy for most of his books. This is an enjoyable novel that shows how a cowboy adjusts to what he finally realizes is the end of the cowboy era and the changing
Stephanie Nalepa
The Smiling Country tells the story of Hewey Calloway, a cowboy in 1910 who is in denial of his age and the fact that he may not be able to do as much as he once could. The novel, although not very long, was rather difficult to get through because there was a lack of a good plot, if any at all. I think that it may have been more interesting had I been familiar with the characters from Kelton’s previous novel, The Good Old Boys. It was, however, fun to read the western dialogue throughout, and to ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Glen rated it it was amazing
This is the second Kelton book I have read, the first being "The Good Old Boys." This started slightly slow but it picked up pace with every turn of the page. The characters followed well from the "The Good Old Boys" where they started. The closure was excellent.

Whereas first reading of Kelton's work was left me wondering if I should buy another one, this one has me wondering which one should be next.
Wilson Lanue
Dec 12, 2013 Wilson Lanue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Sequel to The Good Old Boys , this doesn't make it onto my shortlist for favorite novels as the original does. But it's nice to get to spend a little more time with Hewey Calloway as he discovers that he may have to trade the saddle for a rocking chair.
Nov 18, 2009 Rosemary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of West Texas and early Texas
Recommended to Rosemary by: from the San Antonio library
This is my second reading of this book. And it still held me spellbound and turning pages non-stop. Although I am very familiar with the Pecos, Crane, Odessa and Midland area, this book brings to light some of West Texas I did not know that well. Although I know the Guadalupe mountains and El Paso well enough. I have read only two other books about this area.
Fredrick Danysh
Hewey Calloway is a middle aged cowboy in Texas in 1910. He refuses to accept the technological changes taking place and yearns for his lifestyle without responsibilities unti a rougue horse cripples him. He also tries to discourage his young nephew from following in his footsteps. A good western without the violence and sex so prevalent among modern writers.
Emily Hunholz
Dec 09, 2012 Emily Hunholz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
This is one of my dad’s favorites, but I just couldn’t get into it. Hewey Calloway, an aging cowboy who is troubled by the changing times, spends the entire book in denial of his old age, and it’s so completely obvious to the reader that it gets annoying. Some of the other characters are good, and it’s not a bad plot, but it’s not the best western I’ve read.
Karen Hankins
May 24, 2009 Karen Hankins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeff Dickison
Jun 20, 2011 Jeff Dickison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elmer Kelton was a great writer and this book is no exception. The story starts slowly but builds to a wonderful, satisfying finish. Highly recommended!
Jan 16, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: western
1910, old cowboy Calloway is trying to finish his life as he has always lived. Right & wrong. Clean language, historical fiction.
Jim rated it it was amazing
Jul 06, 2013
Gary rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2012
Tom Moulson
Tom Moulson rated it really liked it
Jan 08, 2017
C.K. rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2014
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Jun 20, 2010
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George Christopher rated it it was amazing
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Aug 15, 2008
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Elmer Kelton (1926-2009) was award-winning author of more than forty novels, including The Time It Never Rained, Other Men’s Horses, Texas Standoff and Hard Trail to Follow. He grew up on a ranch near Crane, Texas, and earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. His first novel, Hot Iron, was published in 1956. Among his awards have been seven Spurs from Western Writers of America and ...more
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