Tim's Reviews > Paso Por Aqui

Paso Por Aqui by Eugene Manlove Rhodes
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's review
Jul 07, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in July, 2008

One day when I was looking at some old Zane Grey editions he had for sale, my friend Allan Milkerit, the used and antiquarian bookseller in the Mission, told me that I'd probably like Eugene Manlove Rhodes, and suggested I start with Paso Por Aqui, a short novel originally published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1926.

Allan died unexpectedly last year (as I discovered when I went to the San Francisco Library book sale, only to find it dedicated to his memory), so when I recently came across the scrap of paper on which he'd written the title of this book, I decided I had to seek it out.

It's spare, and at first I didn't know why he recommended it, but it ends with a punch, and leaves a long, slow smile on your face. I'm still savoring it.

Somehow it reminds me of the way I felt the first time I read Thornton Wilder's Woman of Andros, touched, uplifted, given the gift to see something beautiful through someone else's eyes.

Rhodes isn't as lyrical as Grey at his best. (That's a long story. I contend that if Grey had written only his six best books, and not the fifty or sixty others where he shamelessly plagiarized himself and wore his vision thin by repetition, he'd be considered a great author. As it is, he was a supreme mythmaker, with a deep influence on how America sees itself, an achievement not to be underrated.) But this spare book shares the same love for the American west, the country and the people who lived there.
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