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  • Y’all know how writing guides advise an opening line that grabs the reader straightaway? The first essay in this collection addresses too much togetherness: “Searching for the flower clock in the Jardin Anglais, I think of nifty ways to kill my wife.” Yep.

    -Lone Star Literary Life (read full review)

  • "Americans have reputations for boorishness and complaining while visiting foreign countries. Yet Europeans often can be hidebound and even vindictive when confronted with our relaxed attitudes toward food, tradition and the “cultural context” of how things are supposed to be done. Dallas writer C.W. Smith pleasantly skewers both sides in this entertaining collection of12 essays drawn from travels to several countries. In one essay, a cafe owner is distressed and disgusted after an American tourist cuts a piece of brie improperly, showing disrespect to the cheese."

    -Dallas Morning News



A Throttled Peacock

About C.W. Smith’s collection of essays, A Throttled Peacock

Observations on the Old World : In the mode of such humorists Bill Bryson and David Sedaris, Smith’s essays take a droll and ironic look at the antics of Europeans at home and Americans abroad in this off-beat memoir that gently mocks both traveler and host. In an Oxford University lecture hall, a local mayor wearing a flamboyant ceremonial necklace sets off Smith’s wry meditation on the English love of tradition; in Geneva he learns that a companion with whom you travel 24/7 can be your best friend and your worst enemy; in an ancient French village he learns that pride can lead to hubris when he and his wife introduce multi-national tourists to Texas chili. With an underlying theme of misperception and the surprise of upended expectations, these essays form a singular vision that entertains even as they slyly instruct. As one reader reports, “One glory lies in experiencing a deepening emotional and intellectual perspective as both narrator and reader discover more about the people and places. This shifting perception keeps the tales dynamic, almost like detective stories that present a mystery that becomes ever more complex before we reach a resolution.”


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