The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

partially filled by a later Austin conference entitled "Texas Women's Literary
Tradition" and by other conferences in the 198os at universities around the state.
Common Bonds is a wonderful addition to the Texas women's literary tradi-
tion. Suzanne Comer, senior editor of Southern Methodist University Press,
put out a call for stories for the book in 1987. She asked for stories that focused
on the shared experiences of women in twentieth-century Texas, by women
writers with a strong Texas connection. She wanted to "contribute to Texas
letters by presenting not only stories about women but also stories by lesser
known writers whose work had not been showcased before" (p. xix). And she
wanted stories with aesthetic merit-well-written, professionally crafted stories.
The thirty-two stories, by both established and new writers, which Comer
chose from 356 submissions by 200 writers, admirably achieve her goals. And
Comer's assessment of the value of Rodenberger's Her Work, that it "certainly
deserves to be listed both among those books helpful to newcomers to Texas
and with those most likely to endure into the next century" (p. xix), applies also
to Common Bonds.
The stories are set in urban or suburban Texas, except in two instances
where the settings are rural. Standard Texas myths, politics and careers play
minor roles. The focus is on relationships between mothers and offspring, be-
tween friends, between wives and husbands, and on women's shared life expe-
riences. One of the book's great strengths is its diversity of voices; all of Texas's
cultures are represented. Some of the best stories are: Carmen Tafolla's "Fede-
rico y Elhra," a look at machismo; Diane Payton Gomez's "Return of a Bad-
News Man" in clear, witty prose; Pat Ellis Taylor's "A Spell Without Books,"
which perfectly evokes Austin's ambiance; Alma Stone's "The Ride," a warm,
humorous story of a woman grown old in deep East Texas; Harryette Mullen's
"Tenderhead," which celebrates women who refuse to be ladies; Lianne Eliza-
beth Mercer's "The Legacy"; Mary Gray Hughes's "Luz"; Jan Epton Seale's
"The Pact"; Annette Sanford's "Standing By."
All of the stories in Common Bonds are good indicators that the future of
Texas letters is in capable writers' hands. Suzanne Comer left a fine legacy that
continues the creation of a community of Texas women writers who are often
divided by distance but joined by shared experiences and considerable talent.
Ellen C. Temple Publishing, Inc. ELLEN C. TEMPLE
Equal to the Occasion: Women Editois oJ the Nineleenth-Centny West. By Sherilyn
Cox Bennion. (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1990. Pp. ix+210. Pref-
ace, introduction, illustrations, black-and-white photographs, appendix,
notes, bibliography, index. $24.95.)
This book takes a close look at women editors in the Far West in the latter
half of the nineteenth century. In a thorough search, Sherilyn Cox Bennion
found almost three hundred women who edited some two hundred and fifty
publications. Of these, she chose thirty-five women as representative of the
group and considers them, their careers, and publications in the text. In an

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed August 20, 2014.